Here are the top games to watch for Week 3 of the high school football schedule (Aug. 31):
Sierra Vista at Green Valley, 7 p.m.
The Mountain Lions’ only league loss was to Bishop Gorman, and they entered the Sunset Region playoffs as the No. 2 seed. Outside linebacker Jahssiah Maiava is one of the top returning players in the state, and had 14 tackles for loss and eight sacks on the way to making the All-State Second Team. Taelase Gaoteote was an honorable mention, so the defense figures to be a strong point.
The Gators made it all the way to the Sunrise Region title game last season, and both their losses were to Liberty in going 10-2 on the year. They do lose quarterback A.J. Barilla, but return plenty of skill layers including top receiver Kalyja Waialae and all three of their leading running backs. Nick Daniel led Green Valley with 86 tackles last year, and figures to improve in his senior season.
Bishop Gorman at Centennial (Arizona), 6:30 p.m.
The Gaels hit the road for the first of two games this season, and will do so either riding high after beating Mater Dei or looking to avenge a loss. Since Kenny Sanchez took over as head coach in 2015, Gorman is 4-1 in out-of-state road games with a point differential of plus-67.
The Coyotes won the state championship in Arizona’s Conference 5A (the state’s second-biggest class). They lose a lot of talent to graduation, including their starting quarterback, running back, top receiver, pass rusher and defensive back. But a road win a against a top team is never easy, and the Gaels lost their only out-of-state road game last season.
Lone Peak (Utah) at Liberty, 7 p.m.
The Patriots play their first home game of the season, where they were undefeated last season and scored at least 30 points in every true home game. Liberty returns a strong contingent of last year’s defense, including UNLV commits Kyle Beaudry and Austin Fiaseu.
Lone Peak went 9-3 last season and fell in the semifinals of the Class 6A state semifinals, the top division in Utah. With the Knights’ quarterback and top two receivers graduating, Liberty will need to contain running back Masen Wake, who rushed for 1,142 yards last season, and whoever fills the void of a senior defensive class that recorded 47½ sacks.