Stats are provided by Maxpreps.com
CLASS 3A SEMIFINALS
No. 5 Sabino (11-1) vs. No. 1 Show Low (12-0), Williams Field High School in Gilbert, 6:30 p.m.
Show Low likely felt like it was playing for the championship facing Yuma Catholic in the quarterfinals. The Cougars should get used to it if they plan on winning it all. They eeked out a 28-26 win over YC and now take on Sabino, which hasn’t lost to an Arizona school this year. Show Low used its ground game to subdue Yuma Catholic, but has been balanced much of the year on offense. Sabino’s attack centers on running back/quarterback Drew Dixon. Dixon has accounted for 2,340 yards rushing/receiving and and counting some passing totals has accounted for 33 TDs. Dixon passed for 2 TDs and caught 2 TD passes last week. He put up 210 total yards. Sabino has been challenged in only three games and has won five successive blowouts. Show Low hasn’t relied on one or two backs to carry the load as five have rushed for between 200 and 600 yards, led by Weston Keime, Jason Turner and Christ Imoto. Quarterbackn Rhett Ricedorff has passed for 2,700 yards, 30 TDs. His top target is Jake Reidhead (45 catches, 703 yards and 8 TDs.)
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CLASS 2A SEMIFINALS
No. 3 Thatcher (10-2) vs. No. 2 Santa Cruz Valley (11-0), Fountain Hills High School, 2 p.m.
This should be the more competitive of the 2A semis. Both have rolled through the playoffs. Thatcher has beaten Chandler Prep 51-6 and Phoenix Christian 52-6; Santa Cruz has taken care of Alchesay 64-0 and Scottsdale Christian 62-21. Thatcher missed the playoffs last year with a 7-3 record (essentially playing up a conference/division) and has rebounded effectively despite plenty of graduation losses. Santa Cruz is trying to restore the glory the area hasn’t seen in more than two decades. Thatcher’s strength is its play in the trenches and an offense by committee led by quarterback Jake Dunlap. Coach Sean Hinton raves about his line and it’s been effective in every game scoring points. Santa Cruz likes to run ball while Thatcher has been stingy giving up rushing yardage most week. The Eagles shut down Phoenix Christian in that aspect last week.
NO STATS PROVIDED BY THATCHER
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No. 5 Benson (10-2) vs. No. 1 Round Valley (12-0), Fountain Hills High School, 6:30 p.m.
Round Valley has endured a couple close calls this season while Benson hasn’t done well playing top-level 2A squads. Benson was faced Thatcher and Santa Cruz, the other semfinalists. The Bobcats have been devoured by scores of 56-0 and 44-8. Round Valley quarterback Kyron Woolf has terrorized opponents with 2,256 yards passing (26 TDs) and 1,044 yards rushing (11 TDs). Fellow seniors Sullivan Udall and Braden Brown are close to eclipsing the 1,000-yard rushing plateau for the season. Round Valley is a few yards shy of 7,000 from scrimmage this season. Benson is led by senior running back Brandon Baird (1,317 yards rushing and 20 TDs). Laird was neutralized by Thatcher and San Manuel.
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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.