Changes to football alignments set up interesting games in 2018

By: 
DARRELL JACKSON, Staff Writer
As the summer football workouts continue in preparation for the 2018 season, the schedules have been released and showcase the changes the Arizona Interscholastic Association made with new alignments.
Among the local school changes beginning next season, Peoria Liberty moves up to 6A joining Mountain Ridge. Both schools will play in the Southwest Section with Glendale Copper Canyon, Avondale La Joya Community, Surprise Shadow Ridge, Tolleson, Surprise Valley Vista and Avondale Westview.
Glendale Deer Valley, which played in 5A last season, will drop down to 4A this season joining the West Valley Section with Cactus, Goodyear Desert Edge, Lake Havasu and Peoria.
Sunrise Mountain also makes the jump from 4A to 5A this season, joining Apollo, Centennial, Ironwood, Raymond S. Kellis, and Phoenix Sunnyslope in the Northwest Section.
Cox Cable YurView will showcase high school football again with four local teams’ games broadcast during the season. Peoria Centennial against Las Vegas Bishop Gorman (Aug. 31), Apollo at Scottsdale Notre Dame (Sept. 7), Peoria Liberty at Phoenix Pinnacle (Oct. 12) and Peoria Sunrise Mountain at Peoria Centennial (Oct. 26).
 
A list of top games each week in the 2018 season:
 
Week zero (Aug. 17)
Peoria Centennial at Queen Creek Casteel, 7 p.m. — Centennial has been one of the top teams in 5A for some time, but Casteel is one of the up-and-coming teams moving up from 3A, where it went 14-0 and captured the state championship with no senior players. Centennial will face an interesting test against a Colts team moving up two conferences and opening against the defending state champions.
 
Week one (Aug. 24)
Peoria Sunrise Mountain at Gilbert Williams Field — The Mustangs have been one of the top teams over the past few years and made school history last year advancing to the semifinals for the first time in history. Williams Field won eight games last year and will give the Mustangs their first test in 5A.
 
Week two (Aug. 31)
Las Vegas Bishop Gorman at Centennial, 7 p.m. — Centennial isn’t afraid to play anybody in the country, including this perennial national powerhouse that every season vies for the No. 1 ranking in America. New Centennial running back Tawee Walker is familiar with the mammoth program, having played for Mojave in North Las Vegas last year.
 
Week three (Sept. 7)
Raymond S. Kellis Cougars at Laveen Betty H. Fairfax Stampede — Kellis enters the season with a new head coach, Steven Hogg, after finishing 7-3 but missing the playoffs last season. The Stampede lost in the first round last season but are poised to make a run at the playoffs with a strong team returning.
 
Week four (Sept. 14)
San Jose (CA) Leland Chargers at Peoria Liberty Lions — Liberty lost in the semifinals last season to eventual 5A champion Centennial and looks to rebound this season taking a page from Centennial by booking strong out-of-state teams. Leland lost in the California Interscholastic Federation Division 4 semifinals and will battle the Lions at Liberty High School in a battle of 11 win teams from last year.
 
Week five (Sept. 21)
Peoria at Goodyear Desert Edge — Desert Edge finished 2017 with seven wins in 5A but drops down to 4A this season. The Panthers opened last year with four straight victories before finishing 7-3 and losing in the quarterfinals and will face a tough midseason test against the Scorpions.
 
Week six (Sept. 28)
Glendale Apollo Hawks at Peoria Centennial Coyotes — Apollo, who finished last season winning eight of their final nine games after losing to the Coyotes 41-0 in week one. The Hawks graduated more than 20 players, but have a strong returning team and will face a tough midseason test.
 
Week seven (Oct. 5)
Glendale Cactus at Desert Edge Scorpions — Cactus has a new coach but returns a strong team that will battle a Desert Edge squad that made the playoffs last season. Cactus should be battling for a playoff when it travels to Goodyear in week seven.
 
Week eight (Oct. 12)
Peoria Centennial Coyotes at Glendale Ironwood Eagles — Ironwood returns a strong team that could be battling for a playoff berth when the Coyotes go to Ironwood. Centennial, a perennial playoff team, should give the Eagles a strong test and could be prime for an upset over the Coyotes.
 
Week nine (Oct. 19)
Glendale Apollo Hawks at Peoria Sunrise Mountain Mustangs — Apollo will give the Mustangs a late season test in Sunrise Mountain’s first season in 5A.
 
Week 10 (Oct. 26)
Glendale Cactus Cobras at Peoria Panthers — In the annual cross-town battle, Cactus and Peoria could be battling for the final playoff position in the 4A West Valley Section.
 
High School football week by week schedule

Week zero (Aug. 17)
  • Phoenix Brophy Prep Broncos at Peoria Liberty Lions
  • Central Bobcats at Peoria Sunrise Mountain Mustangs
  • Peoria Centennial Coyotes at Queen Creek Casteel Colts
 
Week one (Aug. 24)
  • Glendale Cactus Cobras at Tucson Catalina Foothills Falcons
  • Peoria Liberty Lions at Glendale Copper Canyon Aztecs
  • Peoria Panthers at Youngker Roughriders
  • Peoria Sunrise Mountain Mustangs at Gilbert Williams Field Black Hawks
  • Glendale Raymond S. Kellis Cougars at Phoenix Barry Goldwater Bulldogs
  • Peoria Centennial Coyotes Bye
 
Week two (Aug. 31)
  • Glendale Ironwood Eagles at Glendale Cactus Cobras
  • Nevada Bishop Gorman Gaels at Peoria Centennial Coyotes
  • Gilbert Campo Verde Coyotes at Glendale Raymond S. Kellis Cougars
  • Peoria Sunrise Mountain Mustangs at Peoria Liberty Lions
  • Buckeye Union Hawks at Peoria Panthers
 
Week three (Sept. 7)
  • Glendale Cactus Cobras at Goodyear Estrella Foothills Eagles
  • Vail Cienega Bobcats at Peoria Centennial Coyotes
  • Glendale Raymond S. Kellis Cougars at Laveen Berry H. Fairfax Stampede
  • Peoria Liberty Lions at Mesa Desert Ridge Jaguars
  • Peoria Panthers at Mohave Thunderbirds
  • Peoria Sunrise Mountain Mustangs Bye
 
Week four (Sept. 14)
  • Tucson Salpointe Catholic Lancers at Glendale Cactus Cobras
  • Peoria Centennial Coyotes at Tucson Ironwood Ridge Nighthawks
  • Glendale Raymond S. Kellis Cougars at Queen Creek Casteel Colts
  • San Jose (California) Leland Chargers at Peoria Liberty Lions
  • Phoenix Thunderbird Chiefs at Peoria Panthers
  • Gilbert Tigers at Peoria Sunrise Mountain Mustangs
 
Week five (Sept. 21)
  • Glendale Raymond S. Kellis Cougars at Glendale Independence Patriots
  • Glendale Cactus Cobras at Buckeye Youngker Roughriders
  • Goodyear Millennium Tigers at Peoria Centennial Coyotes
  • Peoria Panthers at Goodyear Desert Edge Scorpions
  • Buckeye Verrado Vipers at Peoria Sunrise Mountain Mustangs
  • Peoria Liberty Lions Bye
 
Week six (Sept. 28)
  • Glendale Apollo Hawks at Peoria Centennial Coyotes
  • Glendale Deer Valley Skyhawks at Glendale Cactus Cobras
  • Peoria Sunrise Mountain Mustangs at Glendale Ironwood Eagles
  • Peoria Liberty Lions at Glendale Mountain Ridge Mountain Lions
  • Glendale Deer Valley Skyhawks at Glendale Cactus Cobras
  • Phoenix Sunnyslope Vikings at Glendale Raymond S. Kellis Cougars
  • Poston Butte Broncos at Peoria Panthers
 
Week seven (Oct. 5)
  • Glendale Cactus Cobras at Goodyear Desert Edge Scorpions
  • Peoria Centennial Coyotes at Phoenix Sunnyslope Vikings
  • Peoria Sunrise Mountain Mustangs at Glendale Raymond S. Kellis Cougars
  • Anthem Boulder Creek Jaguars at Peoria Liberty Lions
  • Estrella Foothills Wolves at Peoria Panthers
 
Week eight (Oct. 12)
  • Glendale Apollo Hawks at Glendale Raymond S. Kellis Cougars
  • Peoria Panthers at Glendale Deer Valley Skyhawks
  • Peoria Centennial Coyotes at Glendale Ironwood Eagles
  • Lake Havasu Knights at Glendale Cactus Cobras
  • Peoria Liberty Lions at Phoenix Pinnacle Pioneers
  • Peoria Sunrise Mountain Mustangs at Phoenix Sunnyslope Vikings
 
Week nine (Oct. 19)
  • Glendale Apollo Hawks at Peoria Sunrise Mountain Mustangs
  • Flagstaff Coconino Panthers at Glendale Cactus Cobras
  • Glendale Raymond S. Kellis Cougars at Peoria Centennial Coyotes
  • Phoenix Sandra Day O’Connor at Peoria Liberty Lions
  • Peoria Panthers at Lake Havasu Knights
 
Week 10 (Oct. 26)
  • Glendale Ironwood Eagles at Glendale Raymond S. Kellis Cougars
  • Glendale Cactus Cobras at Peoria Panthers
  • Peoria Sunrise Mountain Mustangs at Peoria Centennial Coyotes
  • Peoria Liberty Lions at Scottsdale Chaparral Firebirds

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