Tonight will feature quarterfinal play in the Arizona state football championship brackets with five teams from our coverage area still alive. Here is a capsulized preview of each of the games involving those teams:
No. 8 Cienega (9-2) at No. 1 Peoria Centennial (11-0)
Time: 7 p.m.
Notes: The teams met Sept. 7 at Centennial with the Bobcats losing 35-0. The score is a bit deceiving. Cienega was down only 15-0 at halftime after two costly turnovers deep in Centennial territory zapped their momentum. If those turnovers don’t occur and Cienega scores, who knows how it would have affected the outcome? … Cienega defeated No. 9 Marana last week by a score of 49-28. … Cienega multi-purpose athlete Terrell Hayward finished with 306 yards on 23 carries with three touchdowns. Hayward, normally used as a slot receiver, played primarily in the backfield because Geo Owens missed the game with an injury. Owens’ availability tonight is uncertain. … Thomas Webb Jr. had 63 yards on 12 carries with four rushing touchdowns for the Bobcats. … Cienega was held to only 87 total yards in its loss at Centennial. … Centennial RB Tawee Walker had more than that on his own with 102 yards rushing on 14 carries. … The winner will play in the semifinals next week in the Phoenix area against either No. 5 Higley or No. 4 Casteel.
No. 9 Mingus Union (9-2) at No. 1 Salpointe (11-0)
Time: 7 p.m.
Notes: Salpointe defeated No. 16 Apache Junction 56-7 last week as RB Bijan Robinson rushed for 143 yards on only seven carries with three touchdowns, including a 53-yard score. He is only 175 yards away from reaching 2,000 yards this season. He stands at 1,825 yards on 124 carries with an incredible 26 touchdowns. Keep in mind he was out for two games with an ankle injury this season. … Backup RB David Cordero finished with 109 yards on seven carries with a touchdown last week. … QB Devin Green completed 8 of 9 passes for 161 yards with two touchdowns against Apache Junction. He has completed 72 passes in 103 attempts (69.9 percent) for 1,169 yards with 11 touchdowns and only two interceptions … S Lathan Ransom finished with two interceptions last week and has six this season. … ATH Mario Padilla rushed for 48 yards, had 62 yards receiving, intercepted a pass and had a punt return of 48 yards last week. … If Salpointe and No. 5 Sahuaro both win tonight and play in the semifinals next week, they most likely will play at Tucson High School. The winner would play in the state titla game at Arizona Stadium on Nov. 30. … Mingus has a potent offense with a 2,000-yard passer (senior QB Antoine Zabala) and an almost-2,000-yard rusher in RB Alex Nelson (1,727 yards on 275 carries).
No. 13 Seton Catholic Prep (8-3) at No. 5 Sahuaro (9-2)
Time: 7 p.m.
Notes: Sahuaro defeated No. 12 Glendale 49-48 last week in a thriller. The game ended with Sahuaro stopping Glendale on a two-point conversion attempt with about 4 minutes remaining. The Cougars kept possession of the ball the rest of the way, driving to the Glendale 6 as time expired. … Sahuaro is led by senior RB/LB Cameron Williams, a college prospect (Arizona should seriously look at him) who has gained 1,124 yards on 124 carries with 23 touchdowns. He also has 57 tackles, including a team-high nine for loss. … Sahuaro has five other backs with at least 270 yards, including speedster Trayvion White-Austin with 556 yards on 55 carries (10.1 yards per carry). … Seton is led by QB Vincent Wallace, who has completed 154 of 270 passes for 2,387 yards with 25 touchdowns and seven interceptions. … Wallace has also rushed for 699 yards on 125 carries.
No. 6 Sabino (9-2) at No. 3 Snowflake (9-1)
Time: 7 p.m.
Notes: Sabino is coming off a convincing 38-6 win over visiting Blue Ridge in the opening round of the playoffs last week. QB A.J. Skaggs threw for 208 yards while completing 11 of 13 passes with three touchdowns and no interceptions (playing with a broken thumb suffered the week previously). … Skaggs has been impeccable most of the season, completing 66.7 percent of his passes (90 of 135) for 1,323 yards. … RB Jamal Brown had 74 yards on only four carries. … Brown and fellow RB Danny McAllister have combined for 865 yards on 116 carries. … Receivers Jimmy Hamilton and Jayson Petty led the Sabercats with 32 catches each. Hamilton is at 489 yards and Petty 437. They have combined for 13 touchdowns receiving. … Snowflake is led by junior RB Bridgen Turley, who has 800 yards rushing on 123 carries with 10 touchdowns. … QB Ethan Ramage has completed 129 of 194 passes for 1,565 yards with 12 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. … The winner plays the winner of No. 10 Safford-No. 3 Yuma game next Saturday night at Phoenix Shadow Mountain.
No. 9 Benson (7-4) at No. 1 Thatcher (11-0)
Time: 7 p.m.
Notes: Benson outlasted No. 8 Alchesay last week, winning 46-42 on the road. RB Shane Dezonia ran for 276 yards on 16 carries with three touchdowns. … Thatcher throttled No. 16 North Pointe Prep 56-0 last week. Five different players scored six rushing touchdowns, led by two by Jack Kortsen, who gained 99 yards on four carries. … Dezonia leads Benson with 780 yards on 104 carries. RB Dondre Villalobos has gained 640 yards on 61 carries. … Dezonia also leads Benson with four sacks as a linebacker. … The winner of this game will play at Scottsdale Chaparral next Saturday in a semifinal game against the winner of No. 5 Phoenix Christian and No. 4 Morenci.
Shane Dezonia, Benson, RB, Sr.
QUARTERFINAL SCHEDULE FOR ARIZONA STATE PLAYOFFS
Games to be played on Friday
No. 8 Cienega (9-2) at No. 1 Peoria Centennial (11-0), 7 p.m.
No. 5 Gilbert Higley (8-3) at No. 4 Queen Creek Casteel (9-2), 7 p.m.
No. 6 Goodyear Millennium (9-2) at No. 3 Scottsdale Notre Dame (11-0), 7 p.m.
No. 7 Peoria Sunrise Mountain (8-3) at No. 2 Gilbert Williams Field (10-1), 7 p.m.
No. 9 Cottonwood Mingus (9-2) at No. 1 Tucson Salpointe Catholic (11-0), 7 p.m.
No. 13 Chandler Seton Catholic Prep (8-3) at No. 5 Tucson Sahuaro (9-2), 7 p.m.
No. 6 Phoenix Greenway (10-1) at No. 3 Goodyear Desert Edge (8-3), 7 p.m.
No. 7 Peoria Cactus (8-3) at No. 2 Scottsdale Saguaro (10-1), 7 p.m.
No. 9 Queen Creek Benjamin Franklin (7-4) at No. 1 Phoenix Northwest Christian (10-1), 7 p.m.
No. 5 Chandler Valley Christian (8-3) at No. 4 Page (10-1), 7 p.m.
No. 6 Tucson Sabino (9-2) at No. 3 Snowflake (9-1), 7 p.m.
No. 10 Safford (7-4) at No. 2 Yuma Catholic (9-2), 7 p.m.
No. 9 Benson (7-4) at No. 1 Thatcher (11-0), 7 p.m.
No. 5 Phoenix Christian (9-2) at No. 4 Morenci (9-2), 7 p.m.
No. 6 Phoenix Arizona Lutheran (9-2) at No. 3 Eagar Round Valley (9-2), 7 p.m.
No. 7 St. Johns (8-3) at No. 2 Goodyear Trivium Prep (10-0), 7 p.m.