One East Valley football coach's take on the Division I state championship:
Hamilton offense vs. Desert Vista defense
"Hamilton has to get it to Kendyl Taylor on screens, counters, options, anything. Then they'll have a lot of success in play-action which they made a living on most of the year. If you don't throw it to him at least 10 times I think it's a disservice. They're so good for obvious reasons, they're so fast. Their team speed is ridiculous. They're balanced and will try to run at DV to exert their will, and they should use Kendyl in the run game. DV has to stop the first play of the game, whether it's a deep pass or a draw that Hamilton runs. They do that to set the tone."
Hamilton defense vs. Desert Vista offense
"Hamilton has to play a base defense and do what they do best. DV is multiple options enough to have Hamilton in their base defense. You can't take chances because DV can beat you with their QB (Hunter Rodriguez) and speed out wide, but if the Huskies keep everything in front of them they'll be fine because they're that fast. If DV can have a little success on the ‘fly sweep' game it stretches you, and then it can push Hamilton linebackers further apart, and then maybe you can start double-teaming up front and get an O-lineman to their LB. Then DV can also run a power game and play-action passing game they like to do. If the fly sweep game gets going, it's DV's only chance to shorten the game and then allow them to do all their other offenses to give them balance. (DV running back/linebacker Mike Arredondo) is a stud, everything runs through him. He's a huge key for the Thunder, he makes that team go, but he needs to run up the middle and you won't do that against the Hamilton defensive tackles if you can't stretch them out."
Desert Vista defense vs. Hamilton offense
"I think you have to take away Kendyl Taylor. He's the key because they run the ball well but have thrown it even better. If you take him out of the game you have a chance. They've been a little banged up lately up front, but that kid is magic. You have to roll your coverage to him and almost bracket him with someone underneath and over the top, but the underneath person still has to be in the run stoppage, and that's what so difficult. But when he's catching the ball one-handed you just say ‘Wow' and laugh. Everything goes through him and the problem is they have other weapons in Clayton Stanchik and Just'n Thymes. If you can make (QB Blake) Kemp check to a second and third person in the passing game that would help, because he's efficient. They have so many formations and shifts within their schemes, and Hamilton loves to throw on first down so you have to bracket (Taylor), because you never know with them if they'll run or pass. After first downs and in short yardage you have to pick and choose, because they'll throw during those downs. You have to put seven (defenders) in the box and be disciplined when Hamilton runs the option, and still bracket Taylor. They're not as great offensively as they have been, but they're really smart. As much as you can confuse them with, DV's front can create chaos. You have to choose your battles if you're DV because they're so diverse it's tough, but you have to change up your defensive lines to have success. I think because of that DV can have more success doing that than people give them credit for."
Desert Vista offense vs. Hamilton defense
"DV has to run its ‘fly sweep' but show they can play the power game. If you can get Hamilton's defensive tackles moving sideways and get tired, they have a shot. The key is getting them to run sideways and fatigued, so the fly sweep game is very important to what they're trying to do. DV has big kids up front who can double-team, so they have a chance up the middle. You can move them, but those Hamilton tackles are so good you can't come off them and onto blocking the LB behind them, so then the LB will come right over the top and fill the gaps at the line of scrimmage. DV can absolutely throw. (Rodriguez) is good and they can play-action Hamilton with some deep crossing routes if you get the time. I think he's the best Div. I QB out there and his accuracy will help a lot. Hamilton's defensive backfield is good, but they can attack the safeties if Rodriguez gets time to throw. DV loves to shorten the game, keep it close at the end and give themselves a chance late, but if they make any mistakes in special teams, it's over. They can't have a single mishap in special teams."