By Brett Manney
Class 5A-Division I Championship
Hamilton Huskies (12-1) vs. Brophy Prep Broncos (10-3): The case for the state champion pits frontrunner Hamilton against the surprising and defending state champion Brophy Prep. The two teams met on Sept. 5, with Hamilton winning 10-0. The stakes are higher now and both teams are much improved. The Broncos' stout defense has given up only 33 points this postseason and are led by a strong defensive line. The squad hasn't lost in their last nine games and star RB Max Leonesio is closing in at 2,000 yards rushing. Hamilton has been a favorite to win the state title all season. After shutting out their first two opponents in the postseason, the Huskies allowed 28 points to Red Mountain. The Huskies rely on the arm of QB Zakary Hambsch, who has thrown for 2,169 yards and 17 touchdowns en route to the title game. Emotions will be high for this rematch game that will decide who's best in the state of Arizona.
Class 5A-Division II
Centennial Coyotes (13-0) vs. Westview Knights (12-1): It isn't déjà vu but these two teams collide again for the 5A Division II state championship. As the defending state champion, Centennial has been a powerhouse all season and looks to finish what they started, while high-powered Westview looks to stop the Coyotes' thunder. The Coyotes haven't scored less than 35 points this postseason and have an average margin of victory of more than four touchdowns. Centennial hoeps to repeat as champs and by implementing its run-happy offense featuring the Hughes brothers, John and Anthony. The duo combine for over 180 yards rushing a game. Meanwhile, a state title berth a year ago was simply not good enough for the Knights. Westview's last two losses have been at the hands of the Coyotes and will try to play its best game this weekend. WR Carlton Williams has 115 receptions and over 1,000 yards receiving to lead the Knights. He is the leader of a talented receiving core looking to break free from Coyote defenders.
Northwest Division Championship
Oaks Christian Lions (13-0) vs. Serra Cavaliers (13-0): The Lions are looking for their sixth consecutive section title against a highly talented Cavaliers team. The Lions have been dominant on both sides of the ball. QB Nick Montana has thrown for 30 touchdowns and the Lions defense has allowed just 76 points all year. Meanwhile, the Cavaliers look to slay the Lions using their great team speed. QB Ted Landers has great accuracy and likes to find his favorite target WR Robert Woods early and often. Also, the Cavaliers have a stellar RB in Carl Winston, who has 21 touchdowns and averages 120 yards per game rushing. If there is one team that could take the powerful Lions, it could be the Cavaliers in this must-win game for both squads.
Southern Division Championship
Tesoro Titans (13-0) vs. Long Beach Poly Jackrabbits (13-0): The Titans have exceeded all expectations this season and have put themselves on the map. The Titans won their first Pac-5 division games ever this year and a win this weekend would be the team’s first southern division championship. The Titans have arguably the best player in the section in electrifying WR Preston King. QB Robbie Picazo has been scorching secondaries all season with over 2,600 yards passing and 32 touchdowns. The Titans will have their hands full with the best defense they have seen all year. The Jackrabbits are fast at every position and have only allowed 8.3 points per game. On offense, running backs Daveon Barner and Melvin Richardson each have over 1,000 yards rushing and form a formidable one-two punch. With perfect records and seasons on the line, each team is sure to bring their A-game this weekend.
Central Division Championship
Upland Scots (11-2) vs. Rancho Cucamonga Cougars (12-0-1): These two league rivals will be fighting for a coveted Central Division title after battling just a few weeks ago. Rancho defeated Upland in a defensive struggle, 13-2, and so you know that tensions will be high. Upland is led by their stud RB Davion Fleming, a Northwestern recruit, who had 140 yards and three touchdowns last week against Los Oslos and has been a constant contributor all season. The Cougars look to stay undefeated behind QB Greg Watson. The QB is a dual threat to throw and run for the Cougars. The division championship should be a fierce and heated battle as each team looks to be crowned as Central Division champion.
Los Angeles City Championship
Narbonne Gauchos (12-1) vs. San Pedro Pirates (12-1): The Los Angeles City championship features two tough football teams vying for bragging rights in the “City of Angels.” The Gauchos barely got by Crenshaw last week, 25-24, and now face a tough San Pedro squad. QB Josh Moten combined with WR Bryon Moore provide highlights every game and also nightmares for opposing defenses. The Pirates will be looking for revenge as the Gauchos gave them their only loss back on Oct. 24, by a count of 27-24. RB Joseph Deguchi has been a workhorse and averages 98 yards rushing per game. He will look to keep the Pirates grounded and on track for the championship. The last time these two teams met, the contest came down to the wire. And with the city title on the line, this game should be no different.
Inland Division Championship
Corona Centennial Huskies (13-0) vs. Chaparral Pumas (12-1): There is plenty of recent history between these two teams and tensions are mounting. The Huskies' closest game of the season was against Chaparral, a contest they lost 29-16 to open up the season. The Husky defense plays with a lot of emotion and have one of the nation's most feared players in LB Vontaze Burfict. The USC recruit creates havoc all over the field. Meanwhile, Chaparral relies on the long runs from RB Jonathan Diaz, who has compiled over 1,900 yards rushing. Thes two teams will fight to the finish to save their season and live another day.
St. Bonaventure Seraphs (13-1) vs. Moorpark Musketeers (13-1): St. Bonaventure is the defending Northern Division champs and they will be looking to repeat against Moorpark this weekend. The Seraphs' defense has been stellar all year and is led by USC recruit DB Patrick Hall and stud linebacker Dylan Davis. Much like the Seraphs, Moorpark has a great defensive line that applies pressure to the quarterback and stuffs running lanes. The Seraphs will have to focus on shutting down Musketeers WR Tim Vizzi, who has 62 receptions and over 900 yards receiving. The Musketeers have been overlooked all year and this weekend could be their time to shine against the powerful Seraphs.
Mira Costa Mustangs (10-3) vs. Quartz Hill Rebels (12-1): The Western Division championship will feature plenty of running as each squad likes to keep the ball grounded. The Mustangs have played many close games and value the time of possession when they have the ball on offense. Mustangs RB Chris Loatman has over 1,000 yards rushing with 10 touchdowns and is the center of the offense. The Rebels, much like the Mustangs, look to run the ball often. The two-headed attack of Kyle Brookes and Deslonde Brown look to keep the Rebels' nine-game winning streak alive.
Charter Oak Chargers (12-0-1) vs. Diamond Ranch Panthers (7-6): This title game will be the second time these two teams have met with Charter Oak winning back on Oct. 17. After starting the season 1-6, the Panthers have won their last seven games. During their win streak, they squad has allowed just 6.6 points led by DB and UCLA recruit Brandon Sermons. Charter Oak comes in with an offense that can rack up points. Explosive RB Adam Muema averages 141 yards on the ground per game and has 26 touchdowns. This weekend will showcase a high-powered offense against a formable defense and the contest should bring contrasting styles to the forefront in the championship game.
North Coast Section
De La Salle Spartans (11-1) vs. Pittsburg Pirates (11-1): De La Salle has been king of the North Coast Section and Pittsburg hopes to take that crown from the Spartans this weekend. The Spartans have won the section 19 out of the last 20 years, but the ironic part is that Pittsburg was the last team to defeat them in '91. QB Blake Wayne has been steady for the Spartans both running and passing on offense. Athletic RB Bryce Flowers leads the Pirates with 1,021 yards rushing. He is just one of a slew of backs that can punish opposing defenses. LB Emeka Williams has lived up to the hype and constantly is around the ball. He averages over 11 tackles per game and will look to stop the running attack of the Spartans. Both squads have plenty of talent, but this game comes down to execution and determination.
To contact correspondent Brett Manney, send an e-mail to email@example.com.