No. 1 Cienega (12-0) vs. No. 5 Peoria Centennial (11-1), 7 p.m. at Tucson High School
Centennial avenged its only loss — the season opener in the Sollenberger Classic to Desert Edge — in last week’s quarterfinals. This matchup is interesting in that no one has been able to slow Cienega’s offense. The Bobcats played outside of southern Arizona once during the regular season and face a team that thrives on defense in the Coyotes. Centennial is allowing eight points a game. Cienega is scoring an average of 49 points per outing. Cienega QB Jamarye Joiner leads the offense, which has depth at running back and can make big plays in the passing game. Defense wins championships.
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No. 6 Catalina Foothills (10-2) vs. No. 2 Higley (11-1), 7 p.m., Williams Field in Gilbert
Shootout city in this one. That’s the game both have played all year. Both lost handily to Saguaro and CFH’s other loss was to ball-control, defensive-minded Salpointe. Higley is still waiting for senior quarterback Mason Crossland to be cleared to play with concussion symptoms from the opening-round win vs. St. Mary’s. In Crossland’s stead, running back Draycen Hall has gone into an extra gear and backup QB Jacob Rowland has filled in capably. Catalina Foothills QB Rhett Rodriguez has been outstanding in most games, but was neutralized by Saguaro and Salpointe. This one probably takes 40 points to win.
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Class 4A semifinals: No. 4 Salpointe (10-2) vs. No. 1 Scottsdale Saguaro (12-0), 7 p.m., Desert Mountain in Scottsdale
Saguaro is facing the seventh top-10 team in the conference this season and none of the seven has come closer than 28 points of dropping the Sabercats. Salpointe has been impressive in its two playoff games shutting down Canyon del Oro and throttling Marcos de Niza to the tune of single-digit points. It’s been business as usual the first two rounds for Saguaro. Salpointe’s defense has its hands full in this one trying to contain QB Max Massingale, who is approaching 3,000 yards rushing and passing and RB Stone Matthews, who is closing in on 2.000 yards rushing. Salpointe is a running team, led by sophomore back Mario Padilla. Padilla rushed for a season-high 211 yards last week.
Check out my highlight – https://t.co/aUdh9U02Oh
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ALLSPORTSTUCSON.com publisher, writer and editor Javier Morales is a former Arizona Press Club award winner. He is a former Arizona Daily Star beat reporter for the Arizona basketball team, including when the Wildcats won the 1996-97 NCAA title. He has also written articles for CollegeAD.com, Bleacher Report, Lindy’s Sports, TucsonCitizen.com, The Arizona Republic, Sporting News and Baseball America, among many other publications. He has also authored the book “The Highest Form of Living”, which is available at Amazon.