CRAIG GRAU: Happy New Year - Tucson Local Media: Sports

CRAIG GRAU: Happy New Year

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Posted: Tuesday, August 19, 2008 11:00 pm

If it weren’t 100 degrees outside, you could hear ice thawing.

Fans of the pigskin wonderland yawn from hibernation, adapted to a calendar as foreign to the football illiterate as any Chinese or Hebrew chronology.

When high school kickers place footballs in tees, Aug. 29 becomes the new Jan. 1.

So find an aluminum patch of bleacher. Kick back and ignore the kinetic middle schoolers.

An entire summer’s two-a-day practices will unfold in spiraling endorphins, swaying poms, cheap hot dogs and dashed — albeit, unlikely — hopes of perfect seasons.

Prep football seasons offer their communities a rallying point, a reason to prop elbows on the fence and chat with neighbors about Friday’s game.

That’s a blessing.

Having several teams in the Northwest stocked with playoff potential is what electro-rockers Depeche Mode once called a “Personal Jesus.”

And if you’re betting, it helps to have divinity lining your pocket.

Just remember — predictions are man’s setup for cosmic punchlines.

Ironwood Ridge: Driven by revenge and senior will, the Nighthawks’ sole regular season loss comes at home, from Willow Canyon. Then they get angrier, cannibalize Sunnyside, and make state. Finish: 12-2, first in 5A Southern-II, state runner-ups.

Marana: Despite plenty of heart and defense, the Tigers step down a notch after losing key playmakers and much of their offense. Their region’s not the place for a rebuilding season. Finish: 5-5, third in 4A Sonoran, no playoffs.

Pusch Ridge: Good genes, experience and enthusiasm should carry the Knights a notch further this year. Traditional rivals play spoiler role. Finish: 9-3, second in 2A South, quarterfinals win.

Catalina Foothills: The sleeper of the bunch. Solid athleticism giddy with fresh leadership and new tools lead the feel-good Falcons to an upset over Santa Rita. Finish: 7-4, second in 4A Sonoran, first-round playoff exit.

Mountain View: The coin toss. Heads in the game, tails need to hustle. Many moving pieces, with solid line and wise leaders. Finish: 6-4, third in 5A Southern-II, first round playoff exit.

CDO: Gas squared. Outpunch them on the scoreboard, and they’re beatable. Sort of. And good luck. Finish: 12-2, first in 4A Sonoran, state runner-ups.

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HS Schedule


Aug. 21

Hamilton @ Ironwood Ridge

Rio Rico @ Marana

Catalina Foothills @ Desert Edge

Aug. 28

CDO @ Gilbert

Mountain View @ La Joya Community

Pueblo @ Catalina Foothills

Pusch Ridge @ Bisbee

Sep. 4

CDO @ Tucson High Magnet School

Westwood @ Ironwood Ridge

Horizon @ Mountain View

Marana @ Pueblo

Benson @ Pusch Ridge

Catalina Foothills @ Cienega

Sep. 11

CDO @ Sahuaro

Salpointe @Ironwood Ridge

Mountain View @ Sunnyside

Arcadia @ Marana

McClintock @ Catalina Foothills

Pusch Ridge @ Combs

Sep. 18

Cienega @ CDO

Ironwood Ridge @ Tucson High

Buena @ Mountain View

Marana @ Tempe

Catalina Foothills @ Rincon/University

Pusch Ridge @ Amphi

Sep. 25

Buena @ CDO

Sahuaro @ Ironwood Ridge

Mountain View at Cienega

Marana @ Catalina Foothills

Cholla @ Pusch Ridge

Oct. 2

CDO @ Ironwood Ridge

Queen Creek @ Mountain View

Nogales @ Marana

Catalina Foothills @ Safford

Sahuarita @ Pusch Ridge

Oct. 9

Poston Butte @ CDO

Ironwood Ridge @ Queen Creek

Shadow Ridge @ Mountain View

Marana @ Desert View

Nogales @ Catalina Foothills

Pusch Ridge @ Flowing Wells

Oct 16

CDO @ Queen Creek

Ironwood Ridge @ Marcos de Niza

Mountain View @ Poston Butte

Rincon/University @ Marana

Catalina Foothills @ Sabino

Pueblo @ Pusch Ridge

Oct. 23

Mountain View @ CDO

Poston Butte @ Ironwood Ridge

Marana @ Safford

Desert View @ Catalina Foothills

Walden Grove @ Pusch Ridge

Oct. 30

CDO @ Campo Verde 

Ironwood Ridge @ Mountain View

Sabino @ Marana

Pusch Ridge @ Rio Rico

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