Originally Published: July 17, 2018 6:42 p.m.
Updated as of Tuesday, July 17, 2018 9:58 PM
Showdown with rival Mingus set for Week 11 finale; Badgers to play Bradshaw Mountain in Week 8
SHOW LOW — With training camp underway this week, Prescott’s athletic department officially released its 2018 football schedule Tuesday morning.
The 2018 season kicks off a week earlier than normal this year as the Badgers host Desert Edge on Friday, Aug. 17, in Prescott.
2018 Badger Football Schedule
Region: Grand Canyon
2017 Record: 7-3
2017 State Playoffs: DNQ
Coach: Mike Gilpin, third year
Date Opponent Time
8/8 Lee Williams^ 6 p.m.
8/17 Desert Edge 7 p.m.
8/24 at Canyon Del Oro 7 p.m.
8/31 at Moon Valley 7 p.m.
9/7 Deer Valley 7 p.m.
9/14 at Flagstaff* 7 p.m.
9/21 Bye Week N/A
9/28 Coconino* 7 p.m.
10/5 at Bradshaw Mountain* 7 p.m.
10/12 at Mohave* 7 p.m.
10/19 Lee Williams* 7 p.m.
10/26 Mingus* 7 p.m.
- 4A Grand Canyon Region Game
Desert Edge, finishing 7-3 overall and earning a No. 13 seed in the 5A state playoffs a year ago, lost 49-7 in the first round to Notre Dame Preparatory. The Scorpions are now a West Valley region club, making the switch from 5A to 4A in the offseason.
What was once known as “Week Zero,” mainly used for small 1A schools to begin their football season, is now Week 1. There are now 11 weeks on the schedule, with each team receiving a bye week within the season, according to Prescott Athletic Director Missy Townsend.
“Everyone likes the idea of a bye week. Some schools put the bye week between non-region and region games, some use it toward the end to help recuperate before the playoffs,” Townsend said. “It’s a way for coaches to use that extra time a little more efficiently.”
Prescott head coach Michael Gilpin said other than shortening the players’ summer break, he just begins his preseason program a bit earlier than normal. As for the new bye week, the third-year coach said it could go either way, in terms of helping or hurting his club.
“This is the first time we’ve encountered it, I’m not sure how it will go. I’ll probably have a better idea about it at the end of the season. We’re either going to be licking our wounds, or getting healthy, or it will mess with our momentum,” Gilpin said.
For the fifth straight year, Prescott missed the 4A state playoffs in 2017, despite finishing 7-3 overall and winning three straight to end the season, including a 44-27 win over rival Bradshaw Mountain.
The Badgers were ranked No. 16 in the season-ending power point poll, but were bumped by No. 17 Mingus, who beat Prescott 38-6 on its home turf in Week 7. The Marauders were the only Grand Canyon region team to make the playoffs a year ago, suffering a 45-13 loss to state-champion Saguaro as a No. 15 seed.
Prescott hosts Mingus in Week 11 to end the 2018 regular season Oct. 26. The Badgers play only one other club that qualified for state a year ago in a road trip to Moon Valley on Aug. 31. Moon Valley as a No. 12 seed lost its first-round game 71-8 to Cactus.
OTHER NOTABLE GAMES
The Badgers are scheduled to host another former 5A club in Deer Valley on Sept. 7. The school made the move to the West Valley region in the offseason. The Skyhawks were 5-5 overall in 2017, finishing No. 21 in the polls.
“We know they have very good football players. Desert Edge, Deer Valley, we wanted to play those guys to increase the difficulty of our schedule so that we don’t get slighted at the end of the year like we did last season,” Gilpin said about getting bumped by Mingus and missing out on the postseason.
After Deer Valley, Prescott opens Grand Canyon region play with a trip to Flagstaff on Sept. 14, then get a bye in Week 6 before hosting Coconino on Sept. 28. The Badgers host Lee Williams (Oct. 19) and Mingus (Oct. 26) to end the regular season.
For the first time in two years, Prescott will not play cross-town rival Bradshaw Mountain to end the season. Instead, the Badgers will travel to Prescott Valley in Week 8 to play the Bears on Oct. 5.
Townsend said region schedules are done at the region level, and are randomly pieced together using a spreadsheet. Gilpin said it’s no big deal.
“To be honest, I’m fine with it either way,” Gilpin said about playing the Bears to end the season, or another club. “If I had to pick, I’d play Bradshaw because of the cross-town rivalry. But Mingus is a big rival too, so I’m not up in arms about it.”
Prescott arrived in Show Low on Sunday and is scheduled to wrap up the four-day camp today. Gilpin said the players have bonded well.
“It’s been really good. Lifting weights, going on runs, doing team building. The reason teams go to camp because you have all the kids all to yourself for several days and there’s no outside distractions,” Gilpin said. “You can really take some time to do team building. Right now we feel so much more united as a team.”
The Badgers open the first week of practice Monday and are scheduled to host Lee Williams and Lake Havasu in a scrimmage Wednesday, Aug. 8.
Brian M. Bergner Jr. is sports editor for The Daily Courier. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram at @SportsWriter52, or on Facebook at @SportsAboveTheFold. Email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 928-445-3333, ext. 1106.