Liberty, Chandler get different forms respect in 6A Coaches Poll

1 month ago Jason P. Skoda 0

The 19-point lead by Liberty must have left a lasting impression.

It is not often a team loses and moves up in a poll but that is exactly what the Lions did this week in the 6A Coaches Poll.

Liberty moved up to its highest spot – fifth – in the poll all year long in a 34-33 loss to No. 2 Pinnacle. The Lions held a 33-14 lead in the third quarter, but saw the Pioneers score 20 unanswered to give Liberty its first defeat of the season.

“Liberty really opened my eyes and think they are a top team,” one coach said.

Another team that is finally getting the full respect it deserves is two-time defending champion Chandler as the Wolves got all of the first-place votes this time around.

The Wolves haven’t been challenged in state – led Perry 45-20 before the Pumas tacked on a couple of scores – and haven’t lost since the first game of the season when they traveled to California to take on national power Corona Centennial.

Chandler has been dominant, outscoring AZ opponents 322-89 in six games for an average of 53.6-14.8, as the Wolves prepare for games against Tucson and Hamilton to close out the regular season.

They will be the heavy favorites heading into the postseason and look just as good as the last two championship teams. So in most observer’s minds it is about time the Wolves had a unanimous voting week by the coaches.

“Chandler is the top team until someone in AZ beats them,” more than one coach has said throughout the season. It seems now that all of the voting coaches are on board with that line of thinking.

This week’s schedule has some intrigue with the biggest game being No. 6 Highland (7-1) at No. 3 Queen Creek (7-1) in a Central Region matchup.

The winner of this one firmly grabs a spot in the state’s top four with just one week left in the season.

The rest of the ranked teams play opponents outside of the top 10 but some other games that could impact the poll are No. 8 Basha at Brophy, Chaparral at No. 2 Pinnacle and No. 7 Mountain Pointe at Desert Ridge.

Here is this week’s poll:

6A Coaches Poll (11 coaches participating)

Team  (record)                    LW            Points (1st place votes)

  1. Chandler (7-1)                  1                                  110 (11)
  2. Pinnacle (7-1)                   2                                   96
  3. Queen Creek (7-1)           3                                    76
  4. Perry (6-2)                        4                                   69
  5. Liberty (7-1)                      7                                   64
  6. Highland (7-1)                  5                                    58
  7. Desert Vista (7-1)             6                                   45
  8. Mountain Pointe (4-4)      9                                    39
  9. Basha (6-2)                      8                                    23
  10. Red Mountain (6-2)        10                                   14

Dropped out: None

Other(s) receiving votes: Brophy 5, Cesar Chavez 1, Chaparral 1, Desert Ridge 1.