PHOENIX - This is by far the most anticipated week of high school football this season!
In an interesting twist in scheduling, number 1 ranked Mountain Pointe hosts number 2 ranked Hamilton this week in Ahwatukee. Not only is it one versus two, it's also a rematch of last year's State Championship game that Hamilton won 31-16 at University of Phoenix Stadium.
The truth is, there aren't two better football teams in Division I in the state of Arizona, and while we're on the subject, there aren't any better defenses either.
What makes this week even more intriguing is the fact that while #1 squares off against #2 in Division I in Ahwatukee, number two ranked Marcos de Niza will face number one ranked Salpointe Catholic in Division II in Tucson.
Something that rarely happens at all during the regular season is happening twice on the same night, No. 1 playing No. 2 in both Division I and Division II.
In Division I, the Mountain Pointe Pride will be looking for a little redemption.
"It was real emotional walking off the field, I'll say that much," said Pride offensive tackle Kyle Spight. "We definitely have the game plan this year."
In Division II, two of the top quarterbacks in the state will square off Friday night at Salpointe Catholic: Marcos de Niza quarterback Josh Eckley and Salpointe's Andrew Cota. Both quarterbacks have led their teams to 4-0 records so far this season.
Salpointe coach Dennis Bene says, "I don't think anybody expected us to be 4-0. But I had been telling people that we're better than we were last year. They didn't seem to believe me."
Marcos coach Roy Lopez has a much younger team this season than in past years but he told us this week that this year's team is playing much closer as a team.
"These guys really do love and respect each other and that's really helped us on Friday nights," Lopez said.
In Division I, both Mountain Pointe, currently ranked number one in state, and Hamilton have been ranked nationally. That national recognition goes a long way for both schools when it comes to future student athletes moving into a district, hoping to play football.
While Mountain Pointe has been cruising past opponents, including nationally ranked Bishop Gorman out of Las Vegas in the season opener, Hamilton hasn't looked like the Huskies of old, but a lot of that can be blamed on injuries. The Huskies are playing with eight starters sidelined with injuries.
"We're playing well with eight starters out," Hamilton Coach Steve Belles said. "I think we had players step up in their place and that's what we needed to see."
While Hamilton suffers through injuries, Mountain Pointe will be without one of the best running backs and linebackers in the state, senior Wesley Payne. Payne suffered a dislocated elbow last Friday night against Chandler.
But even with the injuries, both of these games should provide plenty of fireworks. Don't be surprised if you see all four of these teams squaring off again in late November in the Arizona state championship games.