In Arizona, there are 6 football divisions for football, based on school size and performance. Similar to European soccer, teams that do well move up and play tougher competition, and teams that do very poorly are dropped down. This can continue happening until they reach the spot they are competitive at, and it gives terrible teams hope because they will be matched with teams with similar records and head-to-head results. Almost all of the very large schools are 6A, unless they are really bad, in which case they get dropped down to 5A or even 4A.
There is a 7th division called the “Open Division” for teams who are considered to be so far beyond the schools in their division that it makes no sense to play them. Most schools (even really good ones) refuse to play in the open division because the teams are the really, really good ones. Cactus and ALA-QC are the only 4A schools in the open division, and there is one 5A (San Tan Saguaro). All the rest are 6A juggernauts.
I’ve been following Detmer and Hall at ALA-QC this year, but was surprised to learn that they are in the open division, even though they just moved up to 4A this year. They lost to Mesquite last year by two points in the semifinals (Mesquite had won the last two state titles), but beat Mesquite this year. Mesquite is seeded #3 in 4A for the state championship.
I was stunned to see that ALA-QC was seeded last and faces #1 Hamilton in the first round. Hamilton, and Chandler, are the Arizona juggernauts (Hamilton beat highly-ranked Bishop Gorman of Las Vegas this year). Everyone is assuming it is a total mismatch. It will be interesting to see how they do. They will probably be able to score points on Hamilton (they were high-scoring the whole year, even against really good teams), but will probably really struggle defensively. The seeding is based on computer rankings and points, which are probably a lot like college football “conventional wisdom.”
While it probably won’t be close, it would be great if Detmer and Hall are able to hang with them — especially if they are able to score a lot of points against them.