Thursday Night Lights Game
Foothill at Palo Verde — Week 2’s opening act is a battle of two of the more fascinating teams of 2016.
The Falcons went 5-4 in the regular season last year and sneaked into the playoff as a No. 4 seed, but had two of the biggest upsets of the season. They edged Basic on Oct. 21, then two weeks later stunned Northeast League champion Canyon Springs in the playoffs.
As for the Panthers, it looked like their 16-year streak of making the playoffs would end after a disastrous 0-6 start. They rebounded to win their last three games and got into the playoffs with a 3-6 record, claiming the tiebreaker with a 3-3 Northwest League record.
Foothill beat Palo Verde 21-14 in their meeting last year.
Games of the Week
Desert Pines at Arbor View — At the Class 3A level, Desert Pines is the cream of the crop. But facing the Aggies is a different story.
With the exception of Liberty, no public school in the state has had more success in recent years that Arbor View. The Aggies have finished as Sunset Region runners-up three years in a row, falling to Bishop Gorman each time. Since 2014, they have only lost one time to a school that was not Gorman or Liberty.
And that was Desert Pines, a 50-14 home victory for the Jaguars to open the 2015 season. Desert Pines gets a boost this year in Desert Oasis transfer wide receiver Jaden Mitchell, and last year’s Class 3A state champions are as primed as anyone in the state to knock off the Aggies.
“I’m telling my kids not to back down and play hard,” Desert Pines coach Tico Rodriguez said. “Arbor View is the type of team, if you show weakness and let them run the ball, they’ll run over you.”
Bishop Gorman at Mater Dei (California) — The Gaels’ biggest road test of the season comes in their second game.
The Monarchs are the preseason No. 1 team in the nation according to USA Today, and the Gaels came in at No. 4. It is Gorman’s only road game outside of the state. This game will go a long way in determining if this year’s team is up to the task of winning a fourth consecutive national title.
A fun side storyline is the quarterbacks, and how it might not be the last time the team meet. Gorman’s Dorian Thompson-Robinson is committed to UCLA, and Mater Dei’s J.T. Daniels is committed to Southern California.