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Arizona Preps Pick'em: Playoffs Week 1

11/3/2011

Each week we'll take three intriguing matchups and put our knowledge to the test with some predictions. If you think your team's game is one of the best on the schedule, let us know in the comments or on Twitter @CParishESPNHS and we'll put it up for debate.

(Ranks based on this week's state rankings)

Chandler (7-3) vs. Westview (8-2)

The 8-9 matchup is always one of the best, for obvious reasons; the teams are usually very evenly matched. Both of these teams have big-time playmakers. The underdog Wolves have senior wideout Javon Williams, who has 882 receiving yards and seven touchdowns this season. Westview counters with two-way star senior Chuks Amaechi, a nightmare for opposing quarterbacks with 10 sacks on the season. Westview's offense is nothing to sneeze at, either; it'll be up to the defense to shut down Chandler's playmakers. PREDICTION: Chandler 26, Westview 21

Apollo (8-2) vs. Ironwood Ridge (8-2)

The Apollo Hawks are 5-0 at home. It's on the road where they've struggled (3-2). That could be a problem against Ironwood Ridge, a team that fared very well at home (4-1). The Nighthawks' defense is as good as it gets; the team has allowed just 65 total points in its eight victories. And with more than 2,700 yards on the ground this season (led by senior Mitch Fischer), the team is a ground-and-pound team that can wear down opponents physically and mentally. But Apollo senior QB Jon Brown and company will be ready for the challenge. PREDICTION: Apollo 24, Ironwood Ridge 21

Ironwood (7-3) vs. No. 8 Deer Valley (9-1)

How poetic — it's a first-round matchup between a one-loss team and the squad that handed them the one loss. Ironwood ruined Deer Valley's perfect season just a few weeks ago, and now it's time for the Skyhawks to exact revenge for the 69-68 blistering. Ironwood's offense is very one-dimensional, but it's also very effective. Deer Valley, meanwhile, doesn't have the world's most tenacious defense, but the team knows how to win, especially with a balanced offense that averages more than 500 yards per game. PREDICTION: Deer Valley 37, Ironwood 24

Previous Record: 21-5