2009 High School Football

Every year, I try to make sure that the computer has updated schedules for the upcoming season’s computer rankings. This year, I noticed that there was a new batch of schools that didn’t seem to be on the radar but warranted investigation.

From what I can tell, more than a dozen Arizona Charter schools have banded together and formed a league of their own, similar to the AIA. In previous years, there were about 5 or 6 of these schools and they would compete as “associate” schools against AIA schools. But now, with this many schools available to play against in multiple sports, the charters have their own league, their own seasons, and their own championships.

And starting this year, their own computer rankings.

While I don’t have enough information on them to have the computer create preseason rankings, after a couple of years, I will have that info, and then we’ll see where we go from there. But at least this year, they’ll be recognized.

And maybe, just maybe, the AIA will learn a thing or two from them. After all, competition fosters a healthy environment, and the AIA has been a lone wolf for many a year.

Show Low Smack

High School football is a sport for some, a passion for others, and for a little corner of Arizona, it’s grounds for a lynching, apparently.

Show Low, AZ has a reputation for being a passionate football town – they regularly turn out in droves to support their high school team and regional rivalries with Payson and Blue Ridge high schools tend to bring out another side of people.

That’s why, when I saw this post on the White Mountain Football Smack Board, I couldn’t help myself but to think – gee, this guy leads a very sheltered life, and he has no clue to begin with.

Re: Saguaro win streak

by greengoblin on Wed Jul 22, 2009 3:59 pm

I can’t believe you are talking about high school football in Tucson they SUCK. It’s been sense the late 60’s and early 70’s that they even had a team worth watching. Football in Tucson sucks period, look at U of A one bowl in ten years, and it was the Los Vegas bowl, yep Stoops is doing a fine job. Keep drinking the Kool-aid Tucson football fans.

I’M FROM SHOWLOW AND I DEMAND RESPECT !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I tell it like it is, and make no apologies,and that angers people. Life continues

First off, the topic is high school football, so why is greengoblin equating high school football with college football? All this shows is that he doesn’t have really anything to add to the thread and that he’s really not very intelligent (and that’s ASIDE from all the typos).

Secondly, Show Low benefits from playing in a region where power points routinely garner extra points for teams in that region, so Show Low is usually a playoff-bound team even if they end their season below .500 like they’ve done twice in the past four seasons.

Third, Show Low is at least three hours from the nearest metropolitan city, so the community is far removed from the happenstances taking place on a daily basis. Information flow for that community is just a little bit slower…

Finally, greengoblin is completely off base in his assessment of Tucson high school football. In the last season alone, there were:

  • 2 5A-I playoff teams
  • 3 5A-II playoff teams
  • 4 4A-I playoff teams
  • 2 4A-II playoff teams
  • 1 3A playoff team (the only one in Tucson)
  • 1 2A playoff team (again, the only one in Tucson)

That’s 13 teams that made the playoffs. If you go back to 2004, you will find 11 programs consistently making the playoffs in their respective conferences every year, with another 3 either on the cusp or making it in one or two years in the last five. Thats a pretty good showing considering that the Phoenix-metro area typically owns around 2/3 of the available playoff slots each season. Show Low only has one conference to worry about – 3A. Tucson has teams in all 5 conferences.

It’s great that people are passionate about the teams they support, but there’s a difference between being passionate and being a dunderhead. One shows your support, the other shows your ignorance. One shows you care, the other shows you don’t. One dispels myths, the other reinforces stereotypes.

Guess which category greengoblin falls into?

Arizona High School Football Conferences

Arizona has 7 high school football conferences. Each conference is based on enrollment numbers, so that the schools are (relatively) similar in size. Every two years, the Arizona Interscholastic Association (AIA) realigns schools so that their enrollments “match up”. Schools can petition to move up or down based on past history or travel times.

However, several years ago (2005), the number of schools began to get so big that the conferences decided to split the largest two into two “subdivisions”, in effect creating a 4A-I and a 4A-II conference and again with a 5A-I and 5A-II conference.

It sort of made sense at the time, in a weird convoluted way, but in recent years, as enrollments push past the 3100 mark, it no longer does. A new alignment needs to take place in the next two-year bloc to replace these 4A-I/II and 5A-I/II conferences.

Several people on multiple forums have attempted this same task, but for a myriad of reasons ranging from personal bias preference to simply not knowing where the schools were located those attempts failed.

So, I went through the exercise of doing this, keeping in mind not only enrollment but also attempting to preserve region groupings by location wherever possible. There were some assumptions that had to be made on which schools would petition up or down, but some of those were relatively easy based on the schools’ past histories.

As of the 2009-2010 bloc, enrollments for each division were as follows:
4A-II: 1200–1799 students
4A-I: 1800-2099
5A-II: 2100-2399
5A-I: 2400+

4A has 68 schools as members – this is further broken down with the 4A-II division having 35 schools, and 4A-I having the other 33. 5A has 63 schools, with the 5A-II having 32 and 5A-I having 31.

Just by the straight numbers, the breakdown looks to be fairly equal. But it’s not. Look again – remember, -I and -II aren’t different conferences, they’re just divisions within the same conference. Notice that the 4A conference has an enrollment range of about 900 students, but the 5A conference has a range of over 1500 students! Even worse, the enrollment range breaks down like this:

4A-II: 1200–1799 = 599
4A-I: 1800-2099 = 299
5A-II: 2100-2399 = 299
5A-I: 2400-3600+ = 1200!!!

In any case, here’s the current view of the larger AIA conferences, with enrollment numbers. Schools that petitioned to be a part of the conference are noted with a + or – next to their number indicating they petitioned up or down. The 5A conference decided to have all teams compete together, so there are no distinct regions for 5A-II or 5A-I. Hence, 5A-II teams are noted with an * before the school name.

Current Conference Enrollments

4A-II Black Canyon4A-I Desert Sky5A Fiesta5A Metro
Cactus1627Apache Junction1764Brophy2506Alhambra2905
Cortez1278Cactus Shadows1794Chandler3226* Betty H. Fairfax2000
Greenway1548Campo Verde1500Desert Vista2920* Camelback1958 +
Paradise Valley1578Combs1735Hamilton3345* Carl Hayden2277
Thunderbird1620McClintock1778Mesa3639* Central2265
Washington1630Poston Butte1725Red Mountain3556Maryvale2637
Queen Creek1700North2549
4A-II East SkySaguaro14765A Desert Valley* South Mountain2001
Trevor Browne2902
Arcadia15904A-I Kino* Chaparral2037
Coronado1317* Desert Mountain23395A Northwest
Higley1418Cienega1834* Horizon2311
Maricopa1473Desert View2090 -North Canyon2449* Boulder Creek2034
Notre Dame Prep945 +Marana1877* Pinnacle2174* Deer Valley2253
Seton Catholic547 +Nogales1821St. Mary's778 +* Barry Goldwater2039
Tempe1347Sahuaro1750* Kingman1974
Williams Field17715A Desert WestMountain Ridge2492
4A-I Sonoran* Sandra Day O'Connor2125
4A-II Gila* Centennial2144* Valley Vista2338
CDO1838Cesar Chavez2592* Willow Canyon2175
Amphitheater1450Catalina Foothills1759* Ironwood2080
Catalina1404Flowing Wells1825* La Joya22075A East Valley
Cholla1645Pueblo1960* Millennium1990
Douglas1346Sabino1374* Tolleson2238Casa Grande3320
Palo Verde1484Vista Grande1800* Westview2317Desert Ridge2397
Rio Rico1157 +* Marcos de Niza1965
Sahuarita14124A-I West Valley5A CentralMountain Pointe2446
Santa Rita1291* Perry1891 +
Agua Fria1714Basha2455Skyline2412
4A-II Grand CanyonBradshaw Mtn1747Corona del Sol2522Westwood2874
Copper Canyon1921Dobson3019
Coconino1204Dysart1775Gilbert31275A Southern
Flagstaff1443Peoria1659Highland3097
Mingus1235Raymond S. Kellis1775Mesa Mt. View3225Buena2591
Mohave1536Sunrise Mountain1786Mesquite3451* Ironwood Ridge1913 +
Page1044 +* Marana Mt. View1964 +
Sinagua966 +4A-I Western Sky5A Gila Valley* Rincon/University2116
Salpointe Catholic1191 +
4A-II SkylineApollo1804* Cibola2355* Sunnyside2264 +
Glendale1680* Gila Ridge2025Tucson2974
Buckeye1599Independence1866Kofa2513
Desert Edge1549Moon Valley1688* Lake Havasu2060
Liberty1805Prescott1938San Luis2461
Shadow Ridge1500Shadow Mountain1854* Yuma2110
Sierra Linda1535Sunnyslope1784
Verrado1650
Youngker1347

What I attempted to do is realign the conferences by getting rid of the silly divisions within 4A and 5A and create “superconferences” for large enrollment schools. Also, I needed to be cognizant of the fact that the AIA does not allow more than 40 schools in a single conference – hence the divisional breakup in 4A and 5A – and also ensure that travel times were manageable.

Taking these facts into consideration, I was able to create new alignments – which on the surface seem to be similar as the old, but are more reasonably broken out by enrollment. Unless a team petitions up, no school in the 7A conference would be playing as a conference foe a team with less than 2500 students.

Suggested Conference Alignments

4A Black Canyon365A Desert Sky366A Desert Valley357A Fiesta24
Cactus1627Apache Junction1764Chaparral2037Brophy2506
Cortez1278Cactus Shadows1794Desert Mountain2339Chandler3226
Greenway1548Combs1735North Canyon2449Desert Vista2920
Paradise Valley1578McClintock1778Horizon2311Hamilton3345
Saguaro1476Poston Butte1725Pinnacle2174Mesa3639
Thunderbird1620Queen Creek1700Red Mountain3556
Washington1630Perry18916A Desert WestWestwood2874
Williams Field1771
4A East SkyCentennial21447A Central
5A KinoIronwood2080
Arcadia1590La Joya2207Corona del Sol2522
Campo Verde1500Cienega1834Millennium1990Dobson3019
Coronado1317Desert View2090 -Tolleson2238Gilbert3127
Higley1418Ironwood Ridge1913Westview2317Highland3097
Maricopa1473Marana1877Mesa Mt. View3225
Notre Dame Prep945 +Marana Mt. View19646A Gila ValleyMesquite3451
Seton Catholic547 +Nogales1821
Tempe1347Sahuaro1750Cibola23557A Pima
Gila Ridge2025
4A Gila5A SonoranKofa2513 -Alhambra2905
Lake Havasu2060Cesar Chavez2592
Amphitheater1450CDO1838San Luis2461Maryvale2637
Catalina1404Catalina Foothills1759Yuma2110North2549
Cholla1645Flowing Wells1825St. Mary's778 +
Douglas1346Pueblo19606A MetroTrevor Browne2902
Palo Verde1484Rincon/University2116 -
Rio Rico1157 +Sabino1374 +Betty H. Fairfax20007A Southern
Sahuarita1412Vista Grande1800Camelback1958 +
Santa Rita1291Carl Hayden2277Buena2591
5A West ValleyCentral2265Casa Grande3320
4A Grand CanyonSouth Mountain2001Salpointe Catholic1191 +
Agua Fria1714Tucson2974
Coconino1204Bradshaw Mtn17476A NorthwestSunnyside2264 +
Flagstaff1443Copper Canyon1921
Mingus1235Dysart1775Boulder Creek2034
Mohave1536Liberty1805Deer Valley2253
Page1044 +Raymond S. Kellis1775Barry Goldwater2039
Sinagua966 +Sunrise Mountain1786Kingman1974
Mountain Ridge2492
4A Skyline5A Western SkySandra Day O'Connor2125
Valley Vista2338
Buckeye1599Apollo1804Willow Canyon2175
Desert Edge1549Glendale1680
Peoria1659Independence18666A East Valley
Shadow Ridge1500Moon Valley1688
Sierra Linda1535Prescott1938Basha2455
Verrado1650Shadow Mountain1854Desert Ridge2397
Youngker1347Sunnyslope1784Marcos de Niza1965
Mountain Pointe2446
Skyline2412

Could it be better? Sure – I’ve toyed with the numbers a little bit and I could reasonably get conferences down to rounder numbers (like a 2000 minimum for 6A instead of 1965), but what I’ve mapped out is pretty kosher, plus it’s feasible for most schools’ travel budgets too.

This exercise took three days to complete, but I think it was worth the effort. 🙂

Do I think that the AIA will consider this? Normally, I would say no, but the scary thing is – it’s actually attainable AND reasonable. It’s not exclusionary, it actually does depend on several schools petitioning up or down (so it accounts for some small movement), and its sets itself up for growth in the “superconferences” of 6A and 7A as several schools still have yet to reach capacity.

Maybe in 2010, the AIA will come up with a similar alignment. If so, believe me, I’ll be pointing out it was seen here first, back in 2009. 🙂

Another Grab Bag

Random musings from a multitude of topics:

Lamont “Momo” Jones officially committed to the Arizona basketball team on Wednesday. This brings a recruiting class of Jones (SG/PG), Solomon Hill (SF), Kevin Parrom (SF/PF) and Kyryl Natyazhko (C) to the table before Sean Miller ever steps onto Lute and Bobbi Olson Court for an official practice. This also means that Arizona now has done the impossible and reloaded instead of rebuilding, as many thought would happen. The Pac-10 race is now three teams – UCLA, California, and Arizona.

Shaq traded to Cavs – straight salary dump, which is what I said should happen in this same blog last week, but only if it was for salary reasons. Now, with the 14th pick in the draft, and an extra $500k from the Cavs, the Suns should be looking for a couple of missing pieces to the puzzle. One, a veteran center who can play defense and rebound. Two, a backup SF. Ironically, the Suns might get the first in a trade for center Marcus Camby by sending Ben Wallace (whom they acquired in the Shaq trade) to the Clippers. Wallace makes $14.5m this year, and Camby makes only $10m, so a trade would also have to include a third player from the Clips, probably small forward Al Thornton ($1.78m). This gives the Suns the SF cushion they need in case Grant Hill does not return, and also gives them a center in Camby who will hustle, rebound, defend the pick-and-roll and finish at the rim.

I went to the Diamondbacks game last night and watched in horror as Eric Brynes absolutely killed Every Single Rally the D-backs had with two excuse-me swings back to the pitcher and two more groundouts to 2B. The Rangers aren’t a really talented or offensively-gifted team, but when you’ve got a rally-killer in Byrnes at the plate with 2 outs and men on board, all you need to do is score 2 runs against the D-backs and you can pencil yourself in a win. AJ Hinch should have started Ryan Roberts in left. Roberts hits .233 against right handers, unlike Byrnes (.215). Byrnes hits .185 with runners in scoring position and 2 outs, .218 with runners on and less than 2 outs. Roberts, even though he hits .167 with RISP and 2 outs – which is a function of not having that many bats in that situation (a grand total of 6) – has very good numbers with runners on base, hitting .314! And any manager will tell you that even if your AB gets you a hit, if you move the runner into scoring position, you’ve extended the inning just a bit more and put more pressure on that opposing pitcher.

The Mountain West conference had proposed an eight-team playoff to the BCS-people. It was rejected, of course, but really what that amounts to was a playoff that would be another dangling carrot to those non-BCS conferences – finishing in the top 8 would get a seed in the playoff, but would that REALLY happen every year in the next four years? Drawing on the past years, it’s possible, but really unlikely. One year, maybe two at best, but not all four. And what happens in the year it doesn’t happen – does the MWC complain again and threaten more antitrust stuff? Realistically, all the conferences signed on for this, and that’s the rules all teams play by. You want in, win on the field. Utah did last year, and it landed them a nice BCS bowl.

US defeats Spain 2-0 in soccer. I saw this headline in between innings at the D-backs game and did a complete double-take. Holy shmoly! One more victory away from the Confederations Cup? Now I have to find out when this final is playing on TV. You see, the US has NEVER done well in world play – well, the men haven’t at least. So, this is a big thing for the US Men’s team. It would be nice to walk away with a victory in the final and make it a stepping stone toward the next World Cup.

NBA Draft in less than 30 minutes – who will the Suns take at #14? My guess is probably be James Johnson from Wake Forest, though several sites have the Suns selecting Earl Clark from Louisville.

Finally, I’m almost done with the preseason AZ HS rankings. There will be some surprises, I’m sure.

Follow Up to High School Football

This is a follow-up to the High School Football post I wrote on 8/31/08.

I said:

The columnists that cover high school sports are only interested in covering the Phoenix-metro big schools (4A/5A). They have one or two folks that attempt to cover everything else (1A – 3A) and they fail miserably. You can follow the threads on multiple forums about how bad their coverage is, how badly they mess up their team rankings due to being uninformed, and how apathetic they are when it comes to anything that resides outside Maricopa County.

This past Monday, the Repugnant’s rankings came out for 2A and lo, a Phoenix-area school was #1 (Phoenix Christian) to nobody’s surprise. This, despite the fact that PC has played two games against awful opponents: Westwind Prep, a perennial 2A bottom-feeder, and Williams Field, a team that is playing varsity football for the first time ever and has NO SENIORS on its team. The Repugnant picked this PC team over a dominating St. Johns team (2-0, both wins over powerhouses: week 1 over Thatcher, and week 2 over Round Valley, which is a powerhouse school in the next higher conference (3A)).

If anyone doubts how bad the Repugnant is for high school coverage at this point, they seriously need to take a step back and visit a different newspaper, like maybe the Yuma Sun.