Your Source for 6A & 5A High School Football Scores, Schedules, and Power Points

Quarterfinals: 8 Shining Stars

Notre Dame LB Elrod leading tackler as Saints stay perfect

STAT BLOG:  11/14/17

It was the quarterfinals of the playoffs.  Let's take a look at some players that stood out in last week's action.  This week, it's a look at one from each of the semifinal participants.

QUARTERBACK - Brock Purdy (Perry)
The Pumas are steamrolling into the semis as its 6-1, 295-pound signal caller became the single-season leader in touchdown passes for a 6A (biggest-class) school.  Perry scored on all 10 of its drives in a 72-14 blowout over Hamilton.  It was the second win this year for the Pumas against HHS.  Purdy passed for 512 yards and six touchdowns, while also rushing for two more.  The six-pack gives the senior a total of 48 for the season.  Purdy has completed 69 percent of his passes and equaled the six TDs he had in the season opener against Desert Vista.  He averages 307 passing yards per game and will lead the Pumas into a semifinal against the top seed in 6A.
Next Up:  Perry (11-1) will travel to Tempe to take on Mountain Pointe (10-2) in a 6A semifinal game this Friday at McClintock HS.

RUNNING BACK - Drake Anderson (Chandler)
The Wolves are in the semifinals for the fifth straight year and the 5-11, 180-pound senior was a big reason why.  In a home game against Pinnacle, Anderson had 18 carries for 281 yards and five touchdowns in a 77-52 victory.  He also caught two passes for 40 yards.  Anderson now has 29 rushing touchdowns (34 overall) this season.  He has scored at least two TDs in each of the Wolves' games in their current eight-game winning streak.
Next Up:  Chandler (10-2) will travel down the road to take on Red Mountain (10-2) in a 6A semifinal game this Friday at Hamilton HS.

WIDE RECEIVER - Terrell Hayward (Cienega)
The Bobcats took the lead in the third quarter and held on for a 38-35 win over Marana last Friday
.  Leading receiver Hayward (5-9, 145) had his third 150+ gamer this season with nine catches for 172 yards.  Hayward had a touchdown each rushing and receiving.  For the season, he is just 59 yards from the 1,000-yard mark, with 11 touchdown catches (18 total TDs).  For the second straight year, Cienega has run the table and is one step away from the 5A state championship game.
Next Up:  Cienega (12-0) will travel to Mountain View HS to play Notre Dame (12-0) in a 5A semifinal game this Friday in Tucson.

DEFENSIVE LINE - Braxten Croteau (Liberty)
Croteau (6-6, 225) plays on the Lions' line at defensive end.  The junior tallied 14 tackles and 1.5 sacks in a 42-28 victory against Ironwood Ridge.  Croteau is a three-sport athlete that also plays basketball and volleyball.  Liberty heads into a rematch this weekend and is the only team to have defeated Centennial this season.
Next Up:  Liberty (11-1) will play Centennial (10-1) at Peoria HS in a 5A semifinal game this Friday.

LINEBACKER - Vincent Elrod (Notre Dame)
Elrod went over the century mark in tackles for the second straight season in the Saints' overtime win over Queen Creek, 34-31.  Elrod, a senior, had 10 tackles for Notre Dame.  The 6-2, 200-pound middle linebacker leads the Saints with 102 tackles.  Notre Dame is allowing 17.5 points per game this season and is in the semis for the first time since 2010.
Next Up:  Notre Dame (12-0) will play Cienega (12-0) in a 5A semifinal game this Friday in Tucson at Mountain View HS.

DEFENSIVE BACK - Marshawn Gibson (Mountain Pointe)
Gibson, a 6-foot, 175-pound senior cornerback, made a one-handed interception (his eighth of the season) in a 44-7 victory over Highland.  In addition to his four tackles on defense, Gibson had a pair of receptions and scored a touchdown. The score was his first this season on offense.  Gibson has also returned interceptions for TDs against Chaminade and Cibols this year.

Next Up:  Mountain Pointe (10-2) will face Perry (11-1) in a 6A semifinal game this Friday at McClintock HS in Tempe.

SPECIAL TEAMS - D'Angelo Garcia (Centennial)
The sophomore, who also plays some running back, tight end, and defensive end, made a big play on special teams in a 34-27 victory over Chaparral.  The Coyotes built up a 28-7 first-quarter lead in the game.  As part of that early onslaught, Garcia, who had two tackles in the game, recovered a fumble on a kickoff return at the 1-yard line.  Zidane Thomas rushed it in from there to cash in the turnover.
Next Up:  Centennial (10-1) will play Liberty (11-1) in a 6A semifinal game this Friday at Peoria HS.

TEAM - Red Mountain
The Lions didn't get off to the best of starts under new head coach Mike Peterson.  Setbacks to Chandler and Hamilton began the season, and both were decided early.  But since then (Sept. 1), Red Mountain hasn't lost.  The Mountain Lions eliminated Westview with ease last Friday, 31-7.  Touchdown runs by Alejandro Lujan and Lance Lawson staked RMHS to a 17-0 lead in the second quarter.  Touchdowns to bookend halftime by Gerald Wilbon (on a pass from Cannon Griner) and Ty McElroy (three-yard run) ensured there would be no comeback from the 15th-seeded Knights.  It's the second straight year in the semifinals for the Lions.
Next Up:  Red Mountain (10-2) will travel to Hamilton HS to face Chandler (10-2) in a 6A semifinal game this Friday.

PHOTO CAPTION:  Notre Dame linebacker Vincent Elrod is in pursuit of a Queen Creek ball carrier from Friday's 34-31 victory for the Saints.  Elrod has several offers from smaller schools thus far, including Carnegie Mellon, Puget Sound, Simpson, and Willamette.  NDP will take on the other undefeated team in 5A, Cienega, this Friday at Mountain View HS in Tucson.


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Quarterfinals: Notre Dame 34 Queen Creek 31 (OT)

Saints work overtime to take down QC

WEEKLY BLOG:  11/10/17

Playing in their first close game since Sept. 28, and second of the entire season, Notre Dame Preparatory used the play that worked all night long.

A fade pass from senior quarterback Kylan Weisser to Jake Smith on the Saints' first play of overtime propelled Notre Dame to a 34-31 victory to continue its perfect season at Bemis Field in Scottsdale.

Notre Dame (12-0) will play top-seeded Cienega (12-0) at Mountain View High School in Tucson next Friday.  It will be the first semifinal appearance for the Saints since 2010.

Queen Creek provided the drama, scoring twice in the last two minutes to force overtime.  The last came on a 47-yard Hail Mary pass from junior quarterback Devin Larsen to Ryan Dobbs, who made the catch in double coverage with just six seconds remaining.

"Anytime we beat a great team, you realize you're at that level," Notre Dame head coach George Prelock said.  "I'm just very happy and the team is truly blessed."

Queen Creek (10-2) struck first on its opening possession when Larsen dialed it up deep to a streaking Garrett Duke on a 72-yard play.  The senior receiver scored a touchdown in every Bulldog game this season.

The Saints responded with a defensive stop and good field position at the QCHS 45-yard line.  From the 35, Weisser hit Smith with a touchdown pass down the right sideline to even the game.  It was Smith's 25th touchdown of the year (he would add two more).

Weisser had his most productive game of the season with 72 rushing yards to go with his four touchdown passes.  In the second quarter, a 13-yard scramble on fourth-and-four extended a scoring drive.  Notre Dame took its first lead on a pass to senior Blake Storey in the left corner of the end zone to make it 14-7.

That would be that halftime score as Queen Creek squandered a chance to put points on the board at the end of the half.  Junior safety Danny Marshall intercepted a pass and after the return and a couple of penalties, the Bulldogs had a first-and-goal at the 8-yard line with 45 seconds remaining in the half.  On third down from the 5, Larsen scrambled, but fumbled and Vic Annoreno recovered the ball for the Saints.

"You've got to score touchdowns when you have the opportunity," Queen Creek head coach Travis Schureman said.

In an effort to keep the ball out of Smith, a big-play threat, Queen Creek pooch kicked to begin the second half.  The upman for the Saints thought the ball was going to go out of bounds, but it took a weird turn on the artificial surface and was recovered by the Bulldogs at the Notre Dame 14-yard line.

Queen Creek cashed in on the miscue as Larsen hit Duke once again for a score to knot the game at 14.  Later in the third quarter, the Bulldogs were going to attempt a 42-yard field goal, but a penalty backed up the offense five yards and they decided to punt.

Notre Dame started from its own 20-yard line and marched 80 yards over 14 plays for the go-ahead score.  It came on a short pass from Weisser to Smith, who had a defender all over him.  The drive took more than six minutes.

The Saints extended the lead to two scores when senior cornerback Jordan Stengel jumped in front of a pass and brought it back 25 yards for a pick-six.  With less than four minutes remaining, the game seemed well in hand.

Queen Creek didn't run a lot of plays during the game.  Seven of its nine possessions lasted three plays or less.  Forced to operate out of the two-minute hurry-up offense, Larsen got into a rhythm.

With just under two minutes to go, Duke hauled in his 15th touchdown pass of the season (and third of the game).  The Bulldogs didn't get the onside kick, but the defense made a stop and QCHS used its allotted timeouts and the good news was the offense got the ball back.

The bad news was it was inside of its own 2-yard line.

Larsen got the team to midfield, which was close enough for him to let loose with a deep ball towards the end zone, which 6-3 Ryan Dobbs pulled in with just six seconds remaining despite double coverage.  The Bulldogs opted for the extra point kick, which was good and sent the game into overtime.  It was Larsen's 30th touchdown pass of the season.

"It's a damn shame that Devin Larsen doesn't have an offer," Schureman said.  "He's got ice in his veins and he understands what we're asking him to do."

In the alternating possessions, Notre Dame won the toss and elected to start on defense (from the 10-yard line).  The Saints had big plays from Ricky Manning (tackle for a loss) and Alex Nyberg (pass breakup), which was good enough to force a 22-yard field goal.  Zane Kaupe made good on the kick and the Saints knew what they needed.

It was during the delay in between the fourth quarter and the start of overtime that Prelock knew what Notre Dame was going to do when it's time would come.

"The fades were really working," Weisser said.  "They left him one-on-one.  As soon as the game ended, we knew exactly what we were going to call.

The ball went into the left corner of the south end zone.  Just out of the reach of the defender and just with enough touch for Smith to grab it to set off the celebration.  The 25th touchdown pass of the season for Weisser would be his final throw on this night.

"I knew the ball was coming to me," Smith said.  "I was just trying to go up and make a play and be an athlete."

All three touchdowns for Smith, the highly-recruited junior with 17 offers, came on fade routes.  They were his only three catches in the game.

For Notre Dame, it was its second trip to overtime.  Back in their second game in August, the Saints defeated Desert Edge 27-21 in overtime.  Their last close game was a 28-23 win over Chaparral that set them up for the 5A Northeast Region title.

"We knew how to play in overtime," Smith said.  "It helps having been there before and being able to handle the pressure."

In addition to a rare close game, Notre Dame had to recover from the blows Queen Creek landed in the last two minutes.

"I said this is what championship games are all about," Prelock said when he addressed his team at the end of regulation.  "If you want to get to the next level, you have to win moments like these."

Queen Creek started the season with nine consecutive victories.  This is likely the team's last game in 5A as it has been placed upward in 6A for next season due to a higher enrollment (the school is planning to appeal to the Executive Board next week).  Among the teams the Bulldogs defeated in their 9-0 start were Hamilton and Ironwood Ridge.  Over the past eight seasons, QCHS has won 84 games (10.5 per season).

When it was over, each of the players lined up and hugged their coach.  The realization of the finality set in as several openly sobbed.  But there was no reason for the Bulldog players to hang their heads.  Not after this game.  Not after this season.

"I'm pretty dang proud of this group of kids," Schureman said.  "They took every challenge head on."

Saints 34, Bulldogs 31
  1 2 3 4 OT F
Queen Creek 7 0 7 14  3 31
Notre Dame 7 7 0 14  6 34

First Quarter:
QC - Garrett Duke 72 yard pass from Devin Larsen (Zane Kaupe kick), 10:17
NDP - Jake Smith 35 yard pass from Kylan Weisser (Sammy Pileggi kick), 4:25
Second Quarter:
NDP - Blake Storey 17 yard pass from Weisser (Pileggi kick), 3:19
Third Quarter:
QC - Duke 12 yard pass from Larsen (Kaupe kick), 11:06
Fourth Quarter:
NDP - Smith 2 yard pass from Weisser (Pileggi kick), 10:33
NDP - Jordan Stengel 25 yard interception return (Pileggi kick), 3:31
QC - Duke 7 yard pass from Larsen (Kaupe kick), 1:57
QC - Ryan Dobbs 47 yard pass from Larsen (Kaupe kick), 0:06
QC - Kaupe 22 yard FG
NDP - Smith 10 yard pass from Weisser

PHOTO CAPTION:  Notre Dame junior Jake Smith pulls in a touchdown pass in front of a Queen Creek defender during the Saints' thrilling 34-31 overtime win in Friday's quarterfinals at Bemis Field in Scottsdale.  Smith caught three TD passes, including the walk-off winner in overtime after the Bulldogs had kicked a field goal.  Notre Dame will play the other undefeated team, Cienega, at Mountain View HS in Tucson next Friday in the semifinals.


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First Round: 8 Shining Stars

Chandler's Romney stays on a roll in win over Mountain View

STAT BLOG:  11/6/17

It was the first round of the playoffs.  Let's take a look at some players that stood out in last week's action.

QUARTERBACK - Devin Larsen (Queen Creek)
Bouncing back from a loss to Williams Field in the regular season finale, the 6-5, 210-pound signal caller was more than prepared as the Bulldogs opened the playoffs with a 48-20 win over Marana Mountain View.  Larsen did the damage through the air (351 passing yards and 6 touchdowns) as Queen Creek blew open a game that was 28-20 at the half.  It was the second year in a row that he passed for 6 TDs in the first round.  Larsen threw TD passes to Ryan Dobbs (twice), Garrett Duke (also twice), Jett Koester, and Jake Ayala.  The junior has completed 62 percent of his passes and has 26 touchdowns with just five interceptions.  He averages 209 passing yards per game and will lead the Bulldogs into a quarterfinal game this week as the #5 seed.
Next Up:  Queen Creek (10-1) will travel to Scottsdale to take on Notre Dame (11-0) in a 5A quarterfinal game this Friday.

RUNNING BACK - Nick Brahler (Ironwood Ridge)
The Nighthawks won a first-round playoff game for the third straight year and the 5-11, 180-pound senior was a big reason why.  In a home game against Apollo, Brahler had 24 carries for 290 yards and two touchdowns in a 48-41 double-overtime victory.  He also caught two passes for 104 yards and both resulted in TDs.  He now has 20 rushing touchdowns (25 overall) this season.  He has scored in all 11 games for IRHS this season.
Next Up:  Ironwood Ridge (8-3) will travel to Peoria to take on Liberty (10-1) in a 5A quarterfinal game this Friday.

WIDE RECEIVER - Gunner Romney (Chandler)
The Wolves had an easy time with Mountain View in the first round last Friday
.  Leading receiver Romney (6-3, 200) kept up his recent hot streak with 171 yards on nine catches with two touchdowns in a 49-24 victory over the Toros.  For the season, he is just 68 yards from the 1,000-yard mark, despite missing three games due to injury.  Chandler has won seven straight games and scored at least 48 in all of them.  In the last three games, the senior Chandler (9-2) will host Pinnacle (9-3) in a 6A quarterfinal game this Friday.

DEFENSIVE LINE - John Clark (Liberty)
Clark (6-3, 260) plays on the Lions' line at defensive tackle.  The junior tallied six tackles, a sack, and blocked a field goal in a 28-7 victory against Campo Verde.  Liberty limited the Coyotes to just 80 yards of rushing. The LHS defense was strong throughout as the offense took a little while to get going in the first-round matchup.
Next Up:  Liberty (10-1) will host Ironwood Ridge (8-3) in Peoria in a 5A quarterfinal game this Friday.

LINEBACKER - Braxen & Zien Tessler (Chaparral)
The brothers each made a dozen tackles in the Firebirds' road win over Williams Field, 17-14.  Braxen, a sophomore, had three tackles for loss (2 of them sacks).  Zien, a junior, forced a fumble as Chaparral knocked off the defending 5A champions.   The Firebirds trailed 7-6 entering the fourth quarter, but broke through to win their fourth straight game.
Next Up:  Chaparral (7-4) is on the road in Peoria at Centennial (9-1) in a 5A quarterfinal game this Friday.

DEFENSIVE BACK - Gerald Wilbon (Red Mountain)
Wilbon, a 6-2, 175-pound senior cornerback, scored two touchdowns in the first quarter.  The first was on an interception that he brought back 47 yards for a TD.  Later, Wilbon caught the first of two touchdown passes in a 56-24 win over Horizon.  The win was the ninth straight for the Mountain Lions, which ties the school record set between the 2000-01 seasons and then equaled between 2001-02.  Both the 2000 and 2001 seasons ended in state championships for RMHS.
Next Up:  Red Mountain (9-2) is at home in Mesa against Westview (6-5) in a 6A quarterfinal game this Friday.

SPECIAL TEAMS - Jacob Veach (Pinnacle)
The senior, who has committed to Northern Arizona, was perfect in extra points (7-of-7) and also kicked a 28-yard field goal in a 52-7 victory over Cesar Chavez.  Veach constantly gave the Champions a long field as seven of his nine kickoffs went into the end zone for touchbacks.  He has not missed an extra point all season and has converted eight field goal attempts.  The Pioneers will head to the Southeast Valley for a rematch with one of the teams to beat them earlier this season.
Next Up:  Pinnacle (9-3) is on the road at Chandler (9-2) in a 6A quarterfinal game this Friday.

TEAM - Westview
The Knights have been in playoff-mode since the last week of September after starting out 0-5.  Westview earned its postseason spot by winning the 6A Southwest Region (clinching in Week 9).  Coming in as the #15 seed, WHS traveled east to Desert Ridge and upended the Jaguars, 23-7.  For most of the season, it's been the ground game getting the job done for Westview (298 yards per game).  But last Friday, the Knights scored twice with passes from Scott Fallers.  The first to Bobby White, was the only scoring in the first half.  Desert Ridge tied it in the third quarter, but it only stayed that way for 11 seconds - long enough for Romel Boyaba to bring the ensuing kick back 90 yards for a touchdown.  Westview iced it with a short TD pass from Fallers to Albert Curry.  The last #15 seed to win in the 6A playoffs was Gilbert back in 2010 (over Basha).
Next Up:  Westview (6-5) is on the road at Red Mountain (9-2) in a 6A quarterfinal game this Friday.

PHOTO CAPTION:  Chandler wide receiver Gunner Romney gains some yards after a catch in one of the Wolves' games from earlier this year.  Chandler defeated Mountain View, 49-24 last Friday in the first round of the 6A playoffs.  It was the fifth straight year that Chandler won its first playoff game.  The Wolves will host Pinnacle at Austin Field this Friday  Back in September, CHS defeated the Pioneers 35-28, in a game that was decided in overtime.


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First Round: Marana 35 Verrado 33

Tigers take early lead, hold on to advance in 5A thriller

WEEKLY BLOG:  11/3/17

The Marana Tigers hadn't been in a tight contest in a while, winning eight consecutive regular-season games by healthy margins.

They showed Friday that they could handle the pressure of protecting a lead, make a defensive play in crunch time, and have the hands team to successfully grab an onside kick attempt, outscoring the Verrado Vipers 35-33 in a 5A first-round playoff game on the road in Buckeye.

In the first half, the Tigers displayed the offense that entered the game averaging 49.6 points per game.  A total of 28 of Marana's points came in the first 24 minutes while building a three-touchdown lead at the break.

"It's a little uglier than we wanted it to be," Marana head coach Andy Litten said.  "Our kids played real hard and they made the big play at the end, which is what they really needed to do."

Marana (9-2) will once again play on the road, this time in Vail, against Cienega, a 24-6 winner Friday over Fairfax, at 7 p.m. next Friday in the quarterfinals.  Cienega (11-0) is the No. 1 seed in the 5A tournament.

After the teams exchanged punts to begin the game, the Tigers started the first of three straight touchdown drives as junior quarterback Trenton Bourguet hit Jesus Valenzuela for a 19-yard score in the corner of the end zone.  It was Bourguet's 35th touchdown pass of the season.

The intent for Verrado (8-3) coming in was to go on long clock-eating drives to keep the Tiger offense on the sidelines.  It worked to perfection as the Vipers went on an 80-yard drive that took six minutes.  The equalizer came on a 16-yard run by senior Ja'tai Jenkins that started up the middle before the 5-10, 190-pound back cut to the right and went around the defense for the score.

Marana, on the other hand, plays up tempo and fast.  Not always out of the shotgun, sometimes behind center with two backs, but the Tigers needed just four plays to go 69 yards.  A 34-yard pass from Bourguet to sophomore receiver Alfred Ebunoha set up a short run up the middle from senior captain Zach Roberts to give the Tigers a lead they would never relinquish.

Roberts played a role on the defense with a 10-yard tackle for loss forcing a Verrado punt.  Valenzuela has been valuable this season on special teams with five punt returns for touchdowns.  On this night, the 5-7, 125-pounder used his speed as a receiver to get past the defense.  Bourguet hung up a pass that the senior actually had to slow down a little to track in.  The result was a 42-yard touchdown reception.

"My quarterback saw I had to run a six, so he called it and I did." Valenzuela said.  "He just put it right on the money."

Bourguet is a smart QB and the coaching staff gives him options to use in Marana's no-huddle offense.  If he sees something, he'll check off at the line to the best play.  Valenzuela finished with five catches for 93 yards and a pair of touchdowns.

"Trenton did a great job," Litten said.  "He followed our game plan and picked them apart."

Bourguet finished 14-of-21 for 210 yards and two touchdown passes.

Things went from bad to worse for Verrado just 35 seconds later as its punter was hit by Sam Laulusa before getting his kick off.  The ball jarred loose and was picked up by senior Tyson Corner, who ran it in from 15 yards out for the score.  That gave the visitors a 28-7 advantage at the half.

The first sign of Verrado's revitalization in the second half came on a 74-yard run by Jenkins, who burst through the line and then turned on the afterburners.

The Tigers then reached the red zone on their ensuing possession, but senior Jonah Alicea intercepted a pass and brought it back to the Marana 41-yard line.  Finally given good field position for the first time all night, the Vipers cashed it in with an 11-yard run by Jenkins that not only broke a couple tackles, but included a stiff-arm to the last defender in his path for the end zone.

Marana responded capping a scoring drive with Robert's second touchdown run.  On this one, he bounced to the right side and was untouched on a short scoring run.  It was the 11th time in as many games that the Tigers scored at least 35 points.

But Jenkins wasn't done yet.  The running back finished his season with almost 2,000 yards (202 in this game) and scored his fourth touchdown of the game with a run to the right before jumping into the end zone.  The extra point was missed making the score 35-27 and that loomed large later.

A poor runback attempt on the kickoff forced Marana to start at its own 4-yard line.  For this series, the Tigers diverted from their normal hurry-up offense and milked the clock.  The Tigers didn't score, but they kept the ball for 7-1/2 minutes.

"Having to wait was a lot different," Bourguet said.  "We needed to slow the tempo and not let Verrado get the ball back.  They have one of the best running backs in the state."

Verrado finally got it back at its own 10-yard line with 1:46 remaining and no timeouts.  Senior Marcus Rivera went 46 yards on an end around.  Later, quarterback Titan Widjaja completed a pass to Jenkins, who nabbed it one-handed.  Jenkins advanced the ball to the 11-yard line.  On fourth down, Widjaja found fellow junior Jimmy Richardson in the end zone with 51 seconds to spare.

But because of the previous missed extra point, the Vipers had to go for two.  The pass fell through the receivers hands incomplete.  In a surprise to many, Verrado didn't hand it to Jenkins.

"Everyone was looking at him to get the ball anyway," Verrado head coach Tom Ward said.  "They were keying on him up the middle.  We had the right play call, it just slipped through the guy's hands."

Of the four matchups in 5A that featured Phoenix teams against Tucson ones, the teams from Southern Arizona took three of the four games.  Aside from Marana, Cienega and Ironwood Ridge picked up victories.

The Tigers felt a little disrespected being jumped the final week forcing them to take a 125-mile road trip to Buckeye.

"We think we play some pretty good football in Tucson," Litten said.  "We want people to know that we're a community that loves football, our product is exciting, and we're fun to watch."

Verrado won the Desert West Region after defeating rival Desert Edge last week in overtime.  The Vipers won their last five regular season games.

"Our kids didn't quit," Ward said.  "They never gave up.  It doesn't take away the effort they gave in a major comeback."

The last time Marana lost a game was Aug. 25 when the Tigers were on the losing end of a 57-50 shootout against Cienega.  It will be a marquee matchup in Vail between two of the state's best quarterbacks with Bourguet and Jamarye Joiner.

"The key for us is obviously going to be Jamarye," Litten said.  "Our kids are excited to be able to play that game again."

Tigers 35, Vipers 33
  1 2 3 4 F
Marana 7 21  7  0 35
Verrado 0  7 14 12 33

First Quarter:
Mar - Jesus Valenzuela 19 yard pass from Trenton Bourguet (Jaime Avila kick), 5:26
Second Quarter:
Verr - Ja'tai Jenkins 16 yard run (Robert Liss kick), 11:20
Mar - Zach Roberts 4 yard run (Avila kick), 8:22
Mar - Valenzuela 42 yard pass from Bourguet (Avila kick), 2:44
Mar - Tyson Corner 15 yard blocked punt return (Avila kick), 2:09
Third Quarter:
Verr - Jenkins 76 yard run (Liss kick), 11:21
Verr - Jenkins 11 yard run (Liss kick), 7:16
Mar - Roberts 2 yard run (Avila kick), 4:50
Fourth Quarter:
Verr - Jenkins 12 yard run (kick failed), 9:04
Verr - Jimmy Richardson 11 yard pass from Bourguet (pass failed), 0:51

PHOTO CAPTION:  Marana quarterback Trenton Bourguet winds back with a pass during the Tigers' playoff game in Buckeye at Verrado HS Friday night.  The Tigers advanced to the quarterfinals next week in Vail against Cienega after a 35-33 victory.  Bourguet had three touchdown passes giving him 37 on the season.  The junior passed for 210 yards, rushed seven times for 55 yards, and was never sacked.


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Week Ten: 8 Shining Stars

Chaparral's Tessler helps provide a shutout win over Arcadia

STAT BLOG:  10/30/17

It was the final week of the regular season.  Let's take a look at some players that stood out in last week's action.

QUARTERBACK - Kedon Slovis (Desert Mountain)
With a playoff spot on the line, the 6-3, 190-pound signal caller was at the controls as the Wolves posted 50 points for the second time this season in a 50-36 road win over Boulder Creek.  Slovis did the damage through the air (281 passing yards and 5 touchdowns) as Desert Mountain jumped out to a 24-7 halftime lead and didn't let up on the gas in the third quarter.  Slovis threw TD passes to running back Nick Hill (twice), Armand Reichelt, Joshua Walker, and Brandon Kron.  The junior has completed 64 percent of his passes and has 29 touchdowns with just three interceptions.  He averages 268 passing yards per game and will lead the Wolves into a first-round game this week as the #9 seed.
Next Up:  Desert Mountain (6-4) will travel to Gilbert to take on Highland (7-3) in a 6A first-round game this Friday.

RUNNING BACK - Isaiah Briggs (Glendale)
The Cardinals had their best season since 1980 and the 5-8, 170-pound senior was a big reason why.  In the finale at Independence, Briggs had 28 carries for 245 yards and three touchdowns in a 36-28 victory.  Briggs finished the year with four straight 200-yard games and had 1,618 yards and 26 rushing TDs (28 total).  He was a first-down machine averaging 10.4 yards per carry this season.  Despite the record, Glendale's strength of schedule combined with a four-point loss to 5A Union Region-winner Fairfax, kept the Cards out of the postseason.  But, the Independence win allowed GHS to take home the Pride of Glendale Cup.
Next Up:  Glendale (8-2) has completed its season.

WIDE RECEIVER - Dylan Naylor (Kellis)
The Cougars did all they could to stay in the hunt for the final playoff spots last Friday
.  Leading receiver Naylor (5-10, 145) was up to the task with 205 yards on seven catches with two touchdowns in a wild 52-46 win over Ironwood.  For the season, he went over the 1,000-yard mark in all-purpose yardage (872 yards receiving).  Despite the win, Kellis was the highest-ranked team to miss the 5A playoffs.  The Cougars were ranked 15th, but were passed by region winners Sunnyslope and Fairfax when it was time to award postseason bids.  Ultimately, it was Sunnyslope's win over previously #5 Apollo that knocked Kellis out.
Next Up:  Kellis (7-3) has completed its season.

DEFENSIVE LINE - Braxten Croteau (Liberty)
Croteau (6-6, 225) plays on the Lions' line at defensive end.  The junior tallied seven tackles, a sack, and an interception in a 21-19 upset at top-ranked Centennial.  Liberty trailed 13-0 at the half, but Croteau's interception gave the visitors a boost as he returned it 42 yards for the Lions' first points.  LHS has been playing well all season and finished with the No. 3 seed after being a 13-seed last year.
Next Up:  Liberty (9-1) will host Campo Verde (7-3) in Peoria in a 5A first-round game this Friday.

LINEBACKER - Zien Tessler (Chaparral)
The 5-10, 190-pound junior had double-digit tackles for the seventh time this season.  Tessler made 13 tackles, had a sack, and recovered a fumble in a 59-0 shutout at Arcadia.  The Firebirds head into the postseason with three straight victories.
Next Up:  Chaparral (6-4) is on the road in Gilbert at Williams Field (8-2) in a 5A first-round game this Friday.

DEFENSIVE BACK - Jadon Pearson (Williams Field)
Pearson, a 6-3, 165-pound safety, made two interceptions as the Black Hawks handed Queen Creek its first loss of the season.  One of those was brought back for a score in a 27-6 victory.  In this, his junior season, Pearson had five interceptions.  Last spring, he made it to the state finals in three track events.
Next Up:  Williams Field (8-2) is at home in Gilbert against Chaparral (6-4) in a 5A first-round game this Friday.

SPECIAL TEAMS - Ben Abercrombie (Mountain Pointe)
The junior was cool under pressure as he drilled a 31-yard field goal as time expired to provide the difference in a hard-fought 33-30 game against Gilbert.  It was the second FG of the game for Abercrombie as he connected on a season-long of 47 yards in the first half.  He has missed just one extra point all season and has converted eight field goal attempts.  The Pride heads into the playoffs as the No. 1 seed in 6A.
Next Up:  Mountain Pointe (8-2) is at home in Ahwatukee against Cibola (5-5) in a 6A first-round game this Friday.

TEAM - Corona del Sol
The Aztecs had previously won a game back on Aug. 25 (La Joya).  Corona was on a seven-game losing skid that included defeats at Perry (70-24) and just a week prior against Mountain Pointe (56-6).  But for one night, which just happened to be Desert Vista's Homecoming and Senior Night, Corona del Sol put it all together.  The Aztecs won a defensive 14-10 battle.  Trailing 7-0 in the early stages of the game, senior Brandon Gavel intercepted a pass and brought it back 53 yards to the DV 35-yard line.  Corona del Sol converted that into points as Ryan Helt threw a touchdown pass to Ricky Pearsall.  The Thunder led 10-6 after a quarter and the score stayed that way until midway through the fourth quarter.  Another interception for the Aztecs (they had three in the game) led to another score, this time a 42-yard pass play from Helt to Gavel.  Helt ran the conversion in for two for the final points.  As a result of the game, Desert Vista went from No. 9 the week prior to out of the playoffs altogether.  The upset allowed Mountain View to claim the final at-large bid in the 6A field.
Next Up:  Corona del Sol (2-8) has completed its season.

PHOTO CAPTION:  Chaparral linebacker Zien Tessler celebrates on his way back to the sideline in one of the Firebirds' games from earlier this year.  Chaparral shut out Arcadia last Friday, 59-0.  The game was the Firebirds' first shutout this year.  Chaparral will travel to Williams Field for a 5A first-round playoff game this Friday.  Back in September, CHS defeated the Black Hawks 33-7, holding the defending champs to just 19 rushing yards.


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Week Ten: Desert Ridge 21 Highland 7

Jaguars win 7th straight to catch 6A Central Region title

WEEKLY BLOG:  10/27/17

A check of Desert Ridge's roster shows 18 sophomores.  Many of those have had feature roles this season.

Those youngsters were put in their place by an experienced Hamilton team back in Week 3 in a 52-28 loss.  But since then, these kids have matured earning a signature win a couple weeks ago at Mountain Pointe and then capping it off with a 21-7 victory at Highland to take the 6A Central Region.

These Jaguars will hang their hats on their defense, which sacked Highland's quarterback five times (by five different players).  The special teams gave Desert Ridge great field position, which it used to its advantage.

"I didn't expect 13 to 14 sophomores to gel," Desert Ridge head coach Jeremy Hathcock said.  "Our staple is defense and offensively, we're doing just enough to win."

It was the offense that scored early for the Jaguars.  Cooper Schmidt directed Desert Ridge (9-1 overall, 5-0 6A Central Region) on an 80-yard drive accounting for 47 passing yards (on two throws) and 27 on the ground.  Senior Tyrese Allen punched it in from the 2-yard line to put the Jaguars up 7-0 less than four minutes into the game.

The Jaguars have regularly played two quarterbacks this season with Matthew Purnell rotating in.  It was Purnell that launched a deep pass to Deonce Elliott, who had a step on the defender.  The pass went over the outstretched hands of the Highland defender and into the sophomores hands.  His legs did the rest for a 61-yard touchdown.

"We were going over the play all week," Elliott said.  "Good ball by Matty P.  It was a great overall play."

It was Purnell, a sophomore, who played the entire second half as Schmidt was taken out shortly after a play which bent his helmet.  Hathcock said he was kept out for precautionary reasons.

Highland had its chances in the third quarter.  The Hawks missed on a pass play with an open receiver deep.  HHS also blocked a field goal attempt and the ball was loose with an opportunity for the Hawks to scoop it up with lots of running room, but they couldn't get the handle on it.

"We had missed opportunities," Highland head coach Brock Farrel said.  "Desert Ridge was daring people to throw deep on them and we took our shots."

Quarterback Kaleb Herbert got into a rhythm in the second half completing seven straight passes at one point.  The junior completed 21 of his 39 pass attempts (26 passes thrown in the second half).  But early in the fourth quarter, he was picked off by Stanford-commit Donjae Logan, who grabbed it at his own 10 and followed some blocks to the sideline before being tackled on the Highland 27-yard line.  A personal foul penalty tacked 15 more yards on.

From there, Lucas Wright started up the middle, but then cut it outside for a touchdown, his 10th on the ground this season.

Wright earned some tough yards in the second half.  Throughout the game, the Hawks plugged up the run between the tackles.

"They're a run-stopping defense," Hathcock said.  "They're big and physical.  Since they played Perry (a 56-6 loss on Sept. 22), they've become a different team defensively."

Highland (7-3, 3-2) battled back with its passing game and put points on the board when Herbert connected with junior Kohner Cullimore on a fourth-and-goal from the 14-yard line.  But, with just five minutes remaining, the Hawks were running out of time.

Three times in the game, Desert Ridge punter Cameron Weinberg was able to pin Highland inside the 10-yard line.  Defensive stops soon followed creating favorable field position for the Jaguars.  Desert Ridge began five drives from the 40-yard line or better while Highland enjoyed that advantage just once.

Senior Desha Bennett picked up another sack on Friday giving him 14.5 for the season.  That's just three away from the school record (set by Jalen Harris, now at Arizona).  Jalen's younger brother, Jason, opted to transfer to Higley before the season creating the vacancy that Bennett, who is 6-3, 215, has filled nicely.

"Sometimes I use the spin move because that's my special move," Bennett said of his technique.  "Usually I have to use my hands more often."

Bennett lines up on the weak outside position and when the inside interior linemen were pushing the pocket outside, it is tailor-made for him to have a path to the quarterback.

In addition to Bennett, Desert Ridge had sacks from Apolo Ta'ase, Gabe Segura, Allen, and Christian Medeiros.

"I think we have some of the most premier pass rushers in the state," Hathcock said.

Desert Ridge will likely be a top-three seed when the pairings are announced on Saturday (Gridiron Arizona is projecting a No. 2 seed).  The Jaguars have won a first-round playoff game in each of the past seven years.

Highland is returning to the postseason after missing out last year in a 3-7 campaign.  Farrel was hired in February and the Hawks had their first seven-win season since 2008.  It is likely HHS will get to play on its home turf in Gilbert, where it was 4-1 this season.  Highland is projected as a No. 7 seed by Gridiron Arizona.

Farrel said it was in a passing tournament in Flagstaff that he believed Highland was capable of the success that hardly anyone outside of the Black & Teal saw coming.  The Hawks played in the championship game of the NAU 7-on-7 and lost by just a touchdown to Chandler.

"I saw that when the competition came, we rose to the occasion," Farrel said.  "We had a lot of seniors coming back on defense, which would give us a chance to compete."

It was in 2008 that Highland last won a playoff game (0-4 in four appearances since then).  Despite the lack of postseason success and tradition, the fan base has showed its unwavering support for the Hawks.

"The atmosphere at Highland is awesome," Farrel said.  "The kids are super excited and loud.  I love playing here."

Jaguars 21, Hawks 7
  1 2 3 4 F
Desert Ridge  7 7 0 7 21
Highland 0 0 0 7  7

First Quarter:
DR- Tyrese Allen 2 yard run (Logan Stephans kick), 8:24
Second Quarter:
DR - Deonce Elliott 61 yard pass from Matthew Purnell (Stephans kick), 6:38
Third Quarter:
No Scoring
Fourth Quarter:
DR - Lucas Wright 12 yard run (Stephans kick), 11:33
High - Kohner Cullimore 14 yard pass from Kaleb Herbert (Austin McNamara kick), 5:02

PHOTO CAPTION:  Desert Ridge wide receiver Deonce Elliott hauls in a deep pass thrown over the diving Highland defender.  Elliott took it to the end zone for a 61-yard scoring play in the Jaguars' 21-7 victory over the Hawks in Glendale Friday.  DRHS completed the regular season with a 9-1 record.  It's the fourth time the Jags won that many games in a regular season equaling that from 2012, 2013, and 2014.


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Week Nine: 8 Shining Stars

Perry's Purdy totals 7 TDs in wild 65-63 victory

STAT BLOG:  10/23/17

Let's take a look at some players that stood out in last week's action.

QUARTERBACK - Brock Purdy (Perry)
The 6-1, 195-pound signal caller was at the controls of the highest scoring game in 6A this year, a 65-63 win over Hamilton.  Purdy did damage through the air (383 passing yards and 4 touchdowns) as well as on the ground (13 carries for 166 yards with 3 TDs).  The senior is approaching last year's total of 42 touchdown passes as he is at 34 heading into the regular season finale.  Purdy has accounted for 104 TDs in his varsity career (87 passing, 14 rushing, and 3 receiving).  Coming into this season, the big-school record for career touchdowns was held by Horizon's Dalton Sneed, with 87.
Next Up:  Perry (8-1) will host Basha (2-7) in the annual Battle of Val Vista in Gilbert on Friday.

RUNNING BACK - Jawhar Jordan (Hamilton)
When you get a 65-63 game, more than one player has to be showcased.  While his team came up on the short end of the shootout against Perry, Jordan carried the ball 31 times for 297 yards and six touchdowns.  It was a career-high in rushing in his 29th varsity game.  The 5-11, 185-pound Syracuse commit has seven 100-yard games this year and has scored a touchdown in all of them.  Jordan is averaging 10.2 yards per carry this season.
Next Up:  Hamilton (7-2) is on the road at Chandler (7-2) in the annual Battle for Arizona Avenue on Friday.

WIDE RECEIVER - Marcus Taylor (Mesa)
The 5-10, 175-pound senior
is the top receiver on the Jackrabbits.  With star running back Kris Jackson limited (hamstring), Taylor stepped up with seven catches for 165 yards and four touchdowns.  He also had a 58-yard punt return for a fifth score in Mesa's come-from-behind 37-29 win over Dobson last Friday.  Taylor now has more than 1,000 all-purpose yards this year.
Next Up:  Mesa (4-6) is on the road at Mountain View (5-4) in their annual rivalry game on Friday.

DEFENSIVE LINE - Jonathan Parks (Verrado)
Parks (6-4, 235) plays on the Vipers' line at both defensive end and tackle.  The junior tallied nine tackles and three sacks in a 35-14 win at Lake Havasu.  The win keeps VHS perfect in league play at 4-0 in the 5A Desert West Region setting up a winner-take-all showdown this week.
Next Up:  Verrado (7-2) is at home in Buckeye against rival Desert Edge (7-2) on Friday.

LINEBACKER - Elijah Contreras (Cibola)
The 5-10, 165-pound junior had double-digit tackles for the second straight week.  Contreras, an outside linebacker, made 12 tackles and had a sack as Cibola rolled to a 51-14 win at Yuma High.  Contreras also contributed to the point total with his first rushing touchdown of the season.  The Raiders swept the other three Yuma-area schools and will play for the 6A Southern Region title this week.
Next Up:  Cibola (4-5) is on the road at Tucson (4-5) on Friday.

DEFENSIVE BACK - Michael Flores (Glendale)
Glendale continued its best season in a long time with its third straight win, 55-22 over Camelback.  Flores intercepted three passes in the game for the Cardinals.  He also made six tackles.  The senior will play his last game for the Crimson & White this week with a chance to make some more history.  Glendale hasn't won eight games in a season since 1980.
Next Up:  Glendale (7-2) is on the road at Independence (3-6) on Friday.  The teams will battle for the Pride of Glendale Cup.

SPECIAL TEAMS - Carmayne White (Fairfax)
The senior, who also plays wide receiver and cornerback, had an 81-yard punt return last Friday.  White (6-1, 140) scored on that one and also added a 25-yard touchdown reception from the arm of Jayden Guthrie.  They helped the lock up the 5A Union Region with a 38-10 victory over Independence.  It's the second straight year the Stampede will represent the Union in the postseason.
Next Up:  Fairfax (6-3) is on the road in South Phoenix against South Mountain (5-4) on Friday.

TEAM - Boulder Creek
The Jaguars had a brutal start to the season, beginning 0-4 against Hamilton, Liberty, Queen Creek, and Red Mountain.  But, BC didn't let those losses beat it down.  Boulder Creek won for the fourth time in its last five games with a 12-10 victory over Horizon (who was previously 7-1).  Patrick Serrano rushed for 95 yards and a touchdown and tight end James Reed hauled in a TD pass from Caden Austin.  Horizon came in averaging 38.8 points per game and the Jaguars allowed just one touchdown.  Defensively, Murphy Hartmann and Tanner Tomasso each had interceptions.  The winning run, combined with the difficult schedule, sets up BCHS with a potential play-in game this week against Desert Mountain.  Both teams are vying for the final spots in 6A, where it will take a top-15 finish to get in (top-14 if Cibola defeats Tucson).
Next Up:  Boulder Creek (4-5) is at home in Anthem against Desert Mountain (5-4) on Friday.

PHOTO CAPTION:  Perry quarterback Brock Purdy surveys the field in one of the Pumas' games from last year.  Perry defeated Hamilton last Friday, 65-63.  The game mirrored last year's 6A semifinal shootout, which was also won by PHS, 63-60 in overtime.  Last year, Perry ended a four-game losing streak against Basha (this week's opponent).  The Bears are struggling in 2017 with a 2-7 record.  A victory over Basha would give Perry a 9-1 record for the second straight season.


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Week Nine: Red Mountain 14 Skyline 0

Mountain Lions apply the defense to wrap up the 6A East Valley

WEEKLY BLOG:  10/20/17

In what seems like ancient history, Red Mountain began its season with losses to Chandler and Hamilton.  In those two defeats, which came before Labor Day, the Mountain Lions were outscored by a combined 77-0 total in the first halves.

But now as the regular season draws to a close, that RMHS defense continues to make strides.  On Friday, the Lions won their seventh straight game (their longest streak since 2011) and posted a shutout in the process, blanking Skyline, 14-0.

While the game was far from pretty, the victory clinched the 6A East Valley Region title for the boys dressed in all red.  It was also a measure of revenge as the Coyotes claimed the region crown after a head-to-head victory one year ago.

"It means a lot to us to get the seventh win and win the region championship," Red Mountain receiver Gerald Wilbon said.  "The rivalry between us is very intense."

Senior Lance Lawson got the start at quarterback and ran for 14 yards on the game's first play.  Then, he threw a sideline pass to Gerald Wilbon, who broke a tackle before turning on the jets and going 51 yards for a touchdown just 25 seconds into the game.

"It was a good connection with our blockers, Carter Wheat and Cannon Griner.  Carter pushed a guy out, so I took the inside route, stiff armed one man, and it was off to the races."

The touchdown pass was Lawson's 20th in his four-year varsity career.  He has been used in a variety of ways, including running back, where he rushed for 1,500 yards and scored 25 touchdowns as a junior.

"We try and use him appropriately," Red Mountain head coach Mike Peterson said.  "Put him at the X, put him at the slot, put him at tailback, put him at quarterback.  It's invaluable."

Early in the second quarter, the Mountain Lions tried a fake punt on fourth-and-four, but were stopped short on a run.  That gave Skyline the ball at its own 39.

But Red Mountain (7-2 overall, 4-0 6A East Valley Region) didn't allow the Coyotes to take advantage of the field position.  A pass was tipped by Joey Sanchez and picked off by junior safety Isaac Thompson, who brought it back to the 44-yard line.  A personal foul on Skyline moved it to the 29.

"They run the ball and they run it hard," Thompson said.  "When they threw it, we took our opportunities."

Two plays later, Lawson (who shared time with Griner at quarterback) went up top to Wilbon in the left corner of the end zone for a touchdown.  Lawson scored on a keeper to convert the two-point conversion and make the score 14-0 less than three minutes into the second quarter.

In the touchdown play, Red Mountain was lined up in a trips right with Wilbon the lone receiver on the left.

"Lance and I have been working on it all week," Wilbon said.  "He just dropped a dime to me and - touchdown."

Injuries took their toll on both teams in the first half, but Skyline (5-4, 3-1) was affected much more.

Running back Aaron Wood, who has rushed for over 1,100 yards, had a couple of 12-yard gains up the middle.  But, he was lost before halftime with a broken collarbone.  He was immediately taken to the hospital.

On the interception return, Coyote quarterback Steven Castle took a jarring hit and didn't return.  Skyline head coach Angelo Paffumi said Castle likely suffered a cracked rib and would also be heading to the hospital.  The Coyotes were already playing without their top fullback, Luis Lopez, who was lost for the season due to an injury he suffered a couple weeks ago.  In this one, they also lost linebacker/fullback Brian Strobel with an ankle injury.

Red Mountain had safety Justin Coleman leave with a hand injury.  That was what thrust Thompson into a more prominent role on the defense.

In addition to the injuries, the game turned into a flagfest.  For the night, 31 penalties were assessed for 296 yards (more than 135 yards per team).  All of the infractions caused a game that finished 14-0 to last almost three hours.

"It was hard to get into a flow," Peterson said.  "They try and keep the rivalry from getting out of hand."

At the half, Lawson had 84 passing yards, 53 on the ground and 28 receiving for a total of 165 yards.

In the second half, Skyline's defense kept the Coyotes in it as Daniel Tootoo and Ethan Truesdell had interceptions.

"Defensively, I thought we did what we were supposed to do," Skyline head coach Angelo Paffumi said.  "Considering our offense wasn't getting any first downs, I thought we played good enough defense to stay in the game and possibly win."

But while the Coyotes were making takeaways, the revamped offense with backups were off with their timing and fumbled six times (losing two of them).  With less than four minutes remaining, Skyline had it in point-blank range with a third-and-two from the 4-yard line.  But the fullback ran into the quarterback's arm and the ball came flying out.  Joey Sanchez recovered it for the Lions.  It was one of three turnovers for the Coyotes on the night.

The Red Mountain defense has forced 21 turnovers this season and held the opposition to an average of 14 points per game during the winning streak.

"Real proud of the defense, and defense wins championships they say," Peterson said.  "We'll try to ride that pony for as long as we can."

Red Mountain finishes its regular season next Friday at Westwood (4-5).  The Mountain Lions have won their last eight meetings with the Warriors and haven't lost to them since 2005.  Griner will have to sit for that one as he was ejected in the second half after a push to the back of a Skyline player's helmet.

Skyline entered this one ranked No. 11 in the AIA/MaxPreps power points.  Westview, which clinched the Southwest Region, will finish below #16 and bump a team out.  If Cibola upends Tucson for the Southern Region title next week, that will bump another team.  So, the Coyotes must finish at least No. 15 (and maybe 14) to reach the playoffs for a fifth straight season.

The Coyotes will prepare the backups during the week for Dobson (3-6).  The Mustangs have dropped five straight after a 3-1 start.

"We know we got quality kids, we just don't have a lot of depth," Paffumi said.  "We're going to have to have the young kids step up and play a role."

Mountain Lions 14, Coyotes 0
  1 2 3 4 F
Skyline                      0 0 0 0  0
Red Mountain          6 8 0 0 14

First Quarter:
RM- Gerald Wilbon 51 yard pass from Lance Lawson (kick failed), 11:35
Second Quarter:
RM - Wilbon 21 yard pass from Lawson (Lawson run), 9:36
Third Quarter:
No Scoring
Fourth Quarter:
No Scoring

PHOTO CAPTION:  Red Mountain defensive back Lance Lawson makes a tackle on a Skyline ball carrier.  The Mountain Lions posted their first shutout since September of 2016 in a 14-0 win in East Mesa on Friday.  The win improved the RMHS record to 7-2 and makes it very likely the Lions will play their first playoff game on home turf.  Lawson also threw two touchdown passes to Gerald Wilbon in the first half for all of the scoring.


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