The 2020 Arizona high school football season kicks off this week. Here are one writer’s preseason 6A power rankings. Click on a school’s name to read the complete team preview.
Note: Eight of the 38 teams in 6A — Cesar Chavez, Copper Canyon, La Joya Community, North, Tolleson Union, Trevor G. Browne, Tucson and Westview — will not begin their season for at least three weeks and are not included in these rankings.
6A Power Rankings – Preseason
30. Westwood. The Warriors most likely won’t make the playoffs, but they will show growth despite concerns on the offensive and defensive lines.
29. Skyline. If the Coyotes can get consistent play at quarterback, they have a chance at getting to .500.
28. Mountain Ridge. The Mountain Lions competing for a region title is possible, but they’ll have less continuity in their playmaking corps than many of their opponents.
27. Cibola. The Raiders won’t get to play their usual schedule but should dominate against their Yuma rivals.
26. Dobson. Returning a quarterback in Damyian Duarte and six other offensive starters gives the Mustangs a definite shot at finishing at .500 or better.
25. Sandra Day O’Connor. If the Eagles’ host of talented returners on defense can buy time for the offense to rebuild, their streak of losing seasons could end at four.
24. Mountain Pointe. There’s enough talent on the roster to avoid another one-win season, but a return to the playoffs appears at least another season or two away.
23. Boulder Creek. The Jaguars have finished 4-6 each of the past four seasons. Four wins again this year is quite possible.
22. Corona del Sol. The Aztecs doubled their win total from two to four last season, but the 6A bracket shrinking to eight teams really hurts their playoff chances.
21. Shadow Ridge. The most realistic scenario for the Stallions is contending for a region title and building toward a playoff push in the coming seasons.
20. Mountain View (Mesa). They’ll avoid most of the 6A powerhouses this year, but the Toros need improvement in some key areas to keep themselves in the running for a playoff spot.
19. Mesa. The Jackrabbits return six starters on offense and seven on defense, giving them a shot at winning Region 4.
18. Perry. The Pumas will be hard-pressed to extend their streak of postseason appearances to six.
17. Valley Vista. Expect the Monsoon to contend for a region title and at least be in the discussion for a playoff spot.
16. Liberty. The Lions have the pieces to make another playoff run, but the schedule does them no favors.
15. Desert Vista. The Thunder have plenty of talent back but not many players who started on a team that earned the program’s first semifinal appearance since its 2011 championship.
14. Desert Ridge. The Jaguars are a good team, but there are some question marks defensively. It’s very difficult to replace 14 all-region players.
13. Basha. If the Bears can answer questions about the passing game, they could contend for one of the final 6A playoff berths.
12. Higley. Having a quarterback in Cal-Berkeley commit Kai Millner allows the Knights to dream of a playoff berth in their first year in 6A.
11. Brophy Prep. While making the Elite 8 remains a stretch goal, the Broncos have the look of a 6A playoff qualifier that could make noise in the postseason.
10. Casteel. The Colts make the jump from 5A, and although they bring back plenty of talent, they’ll soon see just how loaded this conference is.
9. Highland. Want a dark-horse candidate to crash the Elite 8 party? The Hawks look ready to continue the turnaround they’ve experienced in the four years since Brock Farrel took the reins.
8. Williams Field. The Black Hawks won the 5A title last year. Expect them to be in the 6A playoff field following a rigorous regular-season slate.
7. Centennial. The Coyotes move up from 5A and certainly have the talent to get back to the Elite 8 and challenge for the title.
6. Pinnacle. A 14th consecutive playoff appearance is certainly a realistic finish to the season, but whether the Pioneers get back to the Open playoffs depends on their development on defense and the offensive line.
5. Red Mountain. The Mountain Lions have enough talent to get back to the 6A final — if they’re not in the Open Division bracket.
4. Chaparral. The Firebirds aren’t quite ready to pass the top three in the pecking order, but returning to the Open quarterfinals is a realistic goal.
3. Queen Creek. If the Bulldogs somehow miss out on the Elite 8 despite boasting four Power 5 commits, they will be among the 6A favorites.
2. Hamilton. The Huskies welcome some big-time transfers who give them the look of a repeat Elite 8 team — and perhaps a state championship for the first time since 2012.
1. Chandler. The Wolves have won six state titles since 2014, and the nation’s No. 6 team is the favorite to win it all again.