For years Thanksgiving weekend has been associated with a final fury of football
That changes in 2017.
There will be a week off in between the state semifinals for the three biggest classifications – Conference 6A through 4A – this season.
The two next classes will continue to play over Turkey Day weekend with the 3A and 2A title games on Saturday, Nov. 25 at Campo Verde High.
The 1A title game is Nov. 10 at Maricopa High.
The big schools will play at tripleheader on Dec. 2 at University of Arizona Stadium at noon, 3:30 p.m. and 7 p.m.
It takes a little bit away from the weekend from a writer’s perspective simply because there were some cool stories over the years about the events teams held on the holiday or families coming in for Thanksgiving and sticking around for the big game that weekend.
Here is a look at this week’s games:
Westwood at Dobson
The Warriors had been playing well until last week’s loss to Mesa, which scored 41 straight points after Westwood opened the game with a touchdown.
The Warriors were too careless with the ball and lost the battle in the trenches to have a chance against Mesa.
Quarterback Carter Layton can be difficult to corral when he pulls the ball down and breaks the line of scrimmage. Add that element to the explosiveness of Manny Collier and the power running of Junior Sonasi (if healthy) and the offense can be really good at times.
The same can’t be said of the Dobson offense right now.
In three of the last four games, the Mustangs have scored a total of seven points. Dobson will have a better showing this week, but it still won’t be enough.
Westwood 38, Dobson 21
Corona del Sol at Desert Ridge
Desert Ridge is averaging 65.5 points per game over the last two and have won three straight, while the Aztecs have lost four straight.
The Jaguars shouldn’t have any problems moving to 2-0 in Central Region play before taking on No. 1 Mountain Pointe next week before and Desert Vista and Highland to close out the year.
Desert Ridge 55, Corona del Sol 24
Skyline at Mesa
The clear question is can Kris Jackson be kept under 300 yards this week? That hasn’t been the case the last two weeks after two straight huge games to help the Jackrabbits get a bit of a roll.
But don’t forget how the defense took over last week’s win over Westwood. The addition of linebacker T.J. Becker, a transfer from Chandler, has helped after sitting out the first five games.
Skyline is up for the task.
The Coyotes have very little depth but the players on the field play hard. They have chip on their shoulders and the coaching has them well prepared.
The grittiness allows them to overcome a lot of shortcomings.
Skyline 28, Mesa 21
Red Mountain at Mountain View
Red Mountain is on a roll after losing two straight to open the season against top-ranked teams.
The defense has been very good over the last six quarters, while the offense continues to find an identity. Cannon Griner is starting to develop a little more into a QB rather than an athlete playing the position, while he has a trio of playmakers in Ty McElroy, Lance Lawson and Lorenzo Bowers to rely on along with the underutilized tight end Carter Wheat.
The Toros felt like they let one get away against Skyline, falling behind early only to come all the way back and having a touchdown pass ripped out a receiver’s hands in the final seconds.
Their resiliency will be tested. A win here, and if Red Mountain beats Skyline in two weeks, then suddenly Mountain View is back in it.
The East Valley Region comes down to this week for Toros, and they come up short.
Red Mountain 28, Mountain View 24
The rest of the 6A Conference schedule (predicted winners in bold)
Gilbert at Desert Vista
Trevor Browne at Alhambra
Brophy at Basha
Pinnacle at Boulder Creek
North at Cesar Chavez
Perry at Chandler
Mountain Ridge at Desert Mountain
Westview at La Joya
Central at Maryvale
Copper Canyon at Millennium
Highland at Mountain Pointe
Horizon at Sandra Day O’Connor
Rincon at Santa Rita
Tucson at Sunnyside
Tolleson at Valley Vista
Last week: 14-4. Season’s record: 112-45 (.713)
– Jason P. Skoda is a senior writer for MyNewsMesa.com. Send Mesa-based story ideas to firstname.lastname@example.org.