The Oro Valley Canyon del Oro football program settled a two-year grudge Friday. In the process, the Dorados left little doubt about who is Arizona's best Class 4A-I team.
Junior tailback Ka’Deem Carey ran for a school-record 299 yards and, on three straight carries in second half, scored on touchdown runs of 85, 45 and 57 yards as CDO ended Scottsdale Saguaro’s 36-game winning streak, the longest in the state, with a resounding 44-0 rout in Oro Valley.
It was Saguaro that ripped CDO’s collective heart out two years with a last-minute drive in the 4A-I state title game that ended in a field goal and a Sabercats victory.
But after Friday’s result, there is a wide gap between the Dorados and the rest of the 4A-I field.
Other top storylines from the week
2. Still no rivalry: Chandler football coach Jim Ewan has said often that a rivalry doesn’t exist until both teams have won. The Wolves are still searching for that first win against Chandler Hamilton. Up 10 points on the Huskies with less than two minutes remaining on Friday, Chandler suffered an epic meltdown.
Hamilton running back Zach Bauman scored from 1 yard out with 1:49 remaining to cut the lead to 20-17. Chandler then made two crucial mistakes. Quarterback Brett Hundley ran out of bounds, stopping the clock and preserving a Hamilton timeout on one play. Then, his 34-yard touchdown run was negated due to a holding penalty and the Wolves were eventually forced to punt. Hamilton quarterback Travis Dean found his receiver Kyren Poe on a 16-yard scoring pass with three seconds remaining to cap the rally.
3. Then there were three: Phoenix Brophy’s 46-17 dismantling of formerly unbeaten Mesa Red Mountain on Friday whittled the number of true 5A-I title contenders down to three: Hamilton, Brophy and Chandler (more on that later). In Brophy’s win, placekicker Alex Garoutte had field goals of 47, 46 and 53 yards and sent eight kickoffs into the end zone for touchbacks. The 53-yard FG tied a school record.
4. National power: Peoria Centennial has officially cracked the MaxPreps top 10 national rankings after a 48-0 whitewashing of Tolleson. The Coyotes stand at No. 10 and own the state’s longest win streak at 32 games.
5. Desert Valley resilience: When realignment stripped the Desert Valley Region of Scottsdale Saguaro and Paradise Valley, most observers thought the region would slide. Not so. Region teams Scottsdale Chaparral, Phoenix Pinnacle, Scottsdale Horizon and Scottsdale Desert Mountain are a combined 18-2 as region play opens this week.
The Fab 5
1. Jon Retzloff, Tonopah Valley, Sr., RB: 11 carries for a Class 2A state-record 415 yards and six TDs in win over Phoenix Westwind Prep.
2. Ka’Deem Carey, Tucson Canyon del Oro, Jr., RB: The state’s best back ran for a school-record 299 yards and four touchdowns on 19 carries in a 44-0 rout that ended Scottsdale Saguaro's 37-game winning streak.
3. Max Leonesio, Phoenix Brophy, Sr., RB: Leonesio had 261 rushing yards and a career-high five scoring runs of 76, 2, 4, 23 and 37 yards to help the Broncos knock Mesa Red Mountain from the unbeaten ranks.
4. Jesse Brantley, Gilbert, Sr., WR: 12 catches, 197 yards, three TDs in win over Mesa Dobson.
5. Juan Gonzalez, Cottonwood Mingus, Jr., RB/DB: In a 47-7 rout of Paradise Valley, Gonzalez caught a 45-yard touchdown pass, returned an interception 37 yards for a score, caused a fumble and recovered a fumble.
Class 2A bragging rights are on the line when No. 1 Chandler Valley Christian hosts No. 2 Phoenix Northwest Christian on Friday in a battle of unbeatens. In other key games, Mesa Mountain View travels to Gilbert Mesquite on Friday for sole possession of first place in the 5A Central Region and Gilbert Williams Field faces its toughest test in school history when it hosts defending 4A-II champ Scottsdale Notre Dame for first place in the 4A East Sky Region.
Phoenix North basketball standout Daniel Bejarano pulled his commitment from Texas and met with both Arizona coach Sean Miller and Arizona State coach Herb Sendek last week. Sendek pulled out of the running this week, leaving the door open for the Wildcats to land the 6-foot-5 swingman.
Scottsdale Saguaro offensive tackle Kody Innes visited UCLA and Arizona State over the week.
Goodyear Millennium safety Marquis Flowers will visit Michigan later this month. Flowers is Arizona’s top-rated football prospect.
Seldom does a 3-3 club look like a darkhorse title team, but that is the case with the Chandler Wolves. Chandler’s three losses this season have come to the state’s top three teams, Peoria Centennial, Chandler Hamilton and Phoenix Brophy, and the latter two were of the gut-wrenching variety.Two missed PATs cost the Wolves against Brophy two weeks ago, but that was just a warm-up for the Wolves’ agonizing loss to Hamilton, which Chandler still has not beaten in their decade-plus rivalry.
Despite those losses, there is reason for optimism. Talented tailback Taylor Walstad should return this week from a knee injury that has sidelined him all season. Beyond that, the Wolves have found a quarterback. After Centennial routed Chandler, 62-38, in the season’s second week, coach Jim Ewan made the permanent switch to Brett Hundley, and the offense has been clicking ever since.
Hundley has completed 53-of-89 passes for 660 yards and eight TDs with just two interceptions. He has also rushed for 630 yards and five TDs. Walstad’s presence should only increase his effectiveness. If the Wolves can find a way to shed their mental baggage and win the close ones, watch out.
Craig Morgan is a freelance writer who has covered professional, college and high school sports in the Phoenix area for the past 17 years. He currently covers the Arizona Cardinals and other pro and college teams in Arizona for CBSSports.com. He also writes a weekly column and other features for The Arizona Republic. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.