Does size matter? We're about to find out - Ahwatukee Foothills News: Ahwatukee Sports

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Does size matter? We're about to find out

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Jason P. Skoda is the sports writer at the Ahwatukee Foothills News. Contact him at (480) 898-7915 or

Posted: Wednesday, September 28, 2011 11:39 am

When it became known that Desert Vista was going sign Saguaro as one of its freedom football games, I was intrigued.

That was five months ago.

Now, two days away I can't wait.

Mainly because I don't know what to make of it. When I head to a game on a Friday night I pretty much know who is going to win. There are some games that are up for grabs but for the most part there is a decisive favorite.

That's not the case when the Thunder travel to Scottsdale to take on Saguaro.

There is just too much unknown to get a real feel for it.

Saguaro (5-0) is one of the state's premier programs, winning four of the last five Class 4A Division I state titles, and has one of the best coaches in John Sanders.

Desert Vista (5-0) always has one of the most talented rosters in the state and has plans of getting back to its second title game in five years.

The difference is in enrollment, depth, roster size and physical size. The Thunder have the advantage in all of these areas, but for one game can Saguaro, which has one of the state's premier players in D.J. Foster, play with one of the largest schools in the state?

"I wish I could tell ya what to expect," Desert Vista coach Dan Hinds said. "It is going to be interesting for us as well.

"You look at the film and you go "Wow' but we just don't know about the level (of play). We will find out. We will keep doing what we do and we feel like we have a good game plan again this week."

Sanders is downplaying the match-up a bit, saying they are not out to prove anything, while staying focused on the main prize at the end of the year.

"We're not all, ‘Wow, we get a shot at a 5A-I team,' " he told the Tribune's Kyle Odegard. "We're excited to get to Flagstaff on the 26th (of November). We're trying to win our championship. It's not about trying to beat Hamilton or DV. I don't think we have anything we have to prove. One game at any time, we can play with anyone. But you get to where you're banged up, have to plug in a sophomore, that hurts you.

"They have their own special teams unit. They're loaded. You have a program of that magnitude, they have 70 on their roster, and 60 of them can play. They're pretty good. It's not our goal at the end of the day to beat a 5A-I team."

The one thing known for sure is that Desert Vista gets docked a few power points by playing a team more than one division (Division III) below its own (Division I).

Should the Thunder win they receive 45 points instead of the normal 50 victory points, while Saguaro would get a 10-point bonus by beating a Division I opponent by earning 60.

The rest of the formula follows suit when it comes to opponent's victories and opponent's opponent's victories as well as DV gets a few less points than normal and Saguro earns a few more.

All that is for math majors, which I am not.

Not matter how it adds up this will be on of the more intriguing games of the season.

"It's going to be a great challenge," Sanders said. "They're going to be so deep. We're excited.

"We're at the bottom of Division III in enrollment. We're not hovering at the top. We like the way we play with what we have, (but depth issues) start to wear you down."

Contact writer: (480) 898-7915 or Follow him on Twitter @JskodaAFN.

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