The County Line

2 months ago Andrew Luberda 0

Welcome back to The County Line, my blog on news and notes surrounding the athletic programs we cover at CountyLinePreps.com.

With four teams enjoying a bye this week, now is a good time to catch up on some news and notes before the stretch run of the regular season. Boy, how time has flown.

In this edition, Congratulations in order for a now two-time Coach of the Week, an update on Poston Butte’s Tucker Usher, don’t count out my preseason 3A state title pick, and a brief look at some region standings and the AIA rankings.

Here we go, let’s walk the line…

Twice as nice – Have to congratulate Queen Creek head coach Travis Schureman for being named the Arizona Cardinals and Wells Fargo Coach of the Week following the Bulldogs’ thrilling 29 – 28 victory at Mountain Pointe a couple of weeks ago.

It’s the second time in as many years that Schureman has been honored with the recognition. He was named the Coach of the Week after the Queen Creek’s victory at Hamilton in 2017.

Also, Schureman is the second CLP head coach this season to be honored.

Coolidge head coach Bill Godsil was named Coach of the Week after the Bears defeated Sahuarita in Week 4.

Get well soon, Tuck – In the last edition of TCL, I talked about the gruesome injury suffered by Poston Butte senior Tucker Usher.

I heard from Tucker, whose surgery had to be postponed due to a high fever, shortly after the successful procedure.

“Officially on the road to recovery,” Tucker wrote in a text. “One plate and six screws.”

I’m looking forward to seeing Tucker, and the rest of his Broncos’ teammates, this Friday, when Poston Butte hosts Marcos de Niza.

Making a Charge(rs) – By now, most are aware that I picked Benjamin Franklin (4 – 4) during spring practice to win the 3A State Championship. After Zach Jefferies suffered a knee injury in the season opener, which was followed by injuries to starting quarterback Danner Bowen, McCalister Loving, Austin Bateman, Tanner Willis and others – many of them two-way starters – things looked bleak for the Chargers and me.

But…

Not so fast.

Jefferies and Loving are back and, while some of the other injured players don’t figure to return this season, the Chargers have benefitted from the return of the former two guys so far and appear to have found a solid replacement for Bowen in sophomore Dayson Blair.

The Chargers are 2 – 1 in the region with winnable games against at ALA-Ironwood on Oct. 19 and the regular-season finale at home versus San Tan Foothills on Oct. 26. Keeping in my mind that ALA-Queen Creek (3 – 0 in region) is ineligible for the postseason, Benjamin Franklin controls its own destiny to earn the 3A Central Region automatic playoff berth.

Benjamin Franklin handily defeated Florence a week ago, 49 – 12. Further evidence that the Chargers are a team few others want face in about three weeks and beyond.

Down the stretch – As the season winds down, several teams along The County Line are eyeing the playoffs.

No. 4-ranked (6A) Queen Creek (7 – 1) is a virtual lock to make the postseason.

No. 9 (3A) Benjamin Franklin (4 – 4), No.  22 (3A) San Tan Foothills (3 – 4) and No.  35 (4A) Combs (3 – 4) all control their own destiny to earn their respective region’s automatic playoff berth.

Coolidge, which was ranked No. 4 in the first release of the rankings, appeared to be a lock for the playoffs, but currently ranked No. 12 (3A) with remaining games at San Tan Foothills and the regular-season finale at home versus ALA-Queen Creek, the Bears (6 – 2) might need to win at least of those games to get in. A loss in both games might make for some nervous viewing during the AIA’s playoff show.

No. 21 (3A) Florence (1 – 6) can still get in but needs to win out plus some help – namely a Benjamin Franklin loss.

No. 31 (4A) Poston Butte (2 – 5) will miss the playoffs.