There has been a resurgence.
In a time when spread offenses extend games three-plus hours, 7-on-7 passing leagues create a symbiotic relationship between quarterback and wide receivers and play call sheets are highlighted with pass plays, the running backs are going wild.
Just this past week, Mesa’s Kris Jackson ran for a school-record 341 yards, Skyline’s Aaron Wood ran for 301 yards and Desert Ridge posted 495 yards on the ground against Desert Mountain as Lucas Wright and Tyrese Allen both went over the century mark.
Outside of Mesa, San Manuel’s Christian Velasquez ran for a 2A single-game record of 514 yards.
In previous weeks, Centennial’s Zidane Thomas ran for 334 yards, Camelback’s Abukar Abdi piled up 315, McClintock’s Tyrese Green went for 301 and Hamilton’s Jawhar Jordan went for 256 against Desert Ridge.
Plenty of quarterbacks and wide receivers are still getting theirs, but it is clear one of the major storylines of the first half of the season has been the huge rushing totals.
Will this week bring another 300-yard effort? We’re about to find out.
Dobson (3-2) at Red Mountain (3-2)
The Mustangs have been beat up when facing teams in the East Valley, outscored 90-0 in losses to Gilbert and Desert Vista.
It’s hard to see Dobson closing the gap in one week’s time as it travels to Red Mountain, which has won three in row, including a win over a team – Gilbert – that beat Dobson 48-0.
Never been a fan of using scores to compare teams because different styles make for different matchups, but it is hard to ignore that one in the East Valley Region contest.
Mountain Lions keep moving forward with a fourth-straight win.
Red Mountain 35, Dobson 14
Mountain View (3-2) at Skyline (3-3, 1-0)
Through five games it looked like Skyline was a step behind the Coyotes teams of the last three seasons.
Then last week Skyline led Hamilton 17-6 at the half. Yes, it ended with a 27-17 loss, but it was still a better showing then expected heading into it.
It gives us a little hesitation in picking the Toros, who lost 30-0 to Skyline a year ago.
But we are anyway in this heated EV Region battle.
Mountain View came out of the Mountain Pointe loss confident despite a 35-3 loss, and showed it in a blowout of Brophy last week.
The defense plays with a chip on its shoulder behind Jared Mix, Jeremiah Hollen, Tate Allen and Alex Talamantes and they’ll need to show up to slow down Aaron Wood, who is coming off a 300-yard rushing game, and Darius Glover.
Game of the Week goes to the Toros.
Mountain View 28, Skyline 24
Mesa (2-4) at Westwood (3-3, 0-1)
This is the sneaky good game of the week as the oldest Mesa school come together yet again.
Westwood beat a quality Tolleson squad last week to continue the season-long trend of lose, win, lose, win and so on.
The Westwood rushing attack was good again last week as Junior Sonasi broke the century mark to become the fifth different person to lead the team in rushing in six games.
Mesa is feeling good after beating Basha behind the spectacular Kris Jackson. It was a much-needed win for the Jackrabbits before the East Valley Region games got underway.
We get the feeling this game is going to be all about the offenses, and we like what the Jackrabbits are doing behind quarterback Nate Hanna, talented receivers and Jackson so something tells us the Jackrabbits come out on top.
Mesa 35, Westwood 34
Desert Ridge (4-1) at Gilbert (3-2)
The Central Region opener is a chance for the Tigers to get back in a good groove after losing 41-28 at home to Red Mountain after heading into the half up 21-14.
The Tigers run a clever passing scheme and sometimes it seems as there are seven guys running routes with Jack Plummer standing tall in the pocket.
Gilbert is going to put points on the board, but it won’t be enough.
The Jaguars are playing well, especially since Cooper Schmidt settled in as the lone quarterback, and now the defense is about to get healthy just in time the region stretch run.
A top two finish in the region begins now.
Desert Ridge 35, Gilbert 21
6A Conference schedule
Chandler at Basha
Sandra Day O’Connor at Boulder Creek
Mountain Pointe at Desert Vista
Brophy at Hamilton
Horizon at Mountain Ridge
Desert Mountain at Pinnacle
Alhambra at Central
Maryvale at Cesar Chavez
Valley Vista at Cibola
Kofa at Copper Canyon
Millennium at La Joya
Westview at Tolleson
North at Trevor Browne
Last week: 20-5. Season’s record: 98-41 (.705)
– Jason P. Skoda is a senior writer for MyNewsMesa.com. Send Mesa-based story ideas to email@example.com.