First-year coach Kent Middleton has Pusch Ridge on a three-game winning streak looking prime for a high seed in the Class 3A state playoffs after last night’s 48-13 win over host San Tan Foothills.
Senior running back Evan Lovett had touchdown runs of 32 and 56 yards. He rushed for 218 yards on nine carries and forced two fumbles as a defensive end.
Lovett has 678 yards rushing this season on only 58 carries, an average of 11.7 yards per carry. He has eight touchdowns. In his career, Lovett is at 2,688 yards on 308 carries with 31 touchdowns.
Ryan Fontaine, a junior, completed two touchdown passes — to juniors Javier Grajeda and Jayden Rittenbach — and ran for another score.
Fellow quarterback Hayden Hallett, also a junior, had a 33-yard touchdown connection with sophomore Tyler Mustain.
Bryce Jewell, another sophomore standout, returned a punt 60 yards for a score.
Pusch Ridge (4-1) will play its last two regular-season games at home against American Leadership Academy — Ironwood (0-5) on Friday and against Florence (1-4) on Nov. 13.
The 3A state playoffs begin Nov. 27, so the Lions could conceivably schedule a game on Nov. 20. On the other hand, Middleton may use that week to rest his team before a playoff push.
Salpointe 21, Gilbert Campo Verde 14
Cienega 28, CDO 14
Some superlatives described of @CienegaFootball RB @Levy_G8 last night of his 200-yard rushing game in 28-14 win at CDO were "beast" & "animal." The Bobcats' veteran defense could have been called the same. Those elements made up for Bobcats' 6 turnovers. https://t.co/bH7awaVeQc
Walden Grove 63, Douglas 3
Casa Grande 41, Buena 21
Jacob Thomas rushed for 251 yards and three touchdowns for Casa Grande, which has won for straight games after a season-opening loss at Salpointe.
The Cougars’ defense made three fourth-down stops and forced two turnovers.
Buena senior running back Tory Walters finished with 129 yards on 12 carries with two touchdowns. William Stemler, a junior linebacker, tallied 15 tackles to lead the Colts.
Buena (2-2) will play its fifth consecutive road game next week when Ironwood Ridge kicks off its season.
Casa Grande (4-1) play its last two games on the road, first against Phoenix Benjamin Franklin on Friday.
Amphitheater 44, Rio Rico 0
Kiko Trejo and Isiah Hill, two of the top returning running backs in Southern Arizona, combined for more than 200 yards rushing for host Amphi in the season opener for both schools.
Rio Rico travels again to face Santa Rita and coach Richard Sanchez on Friday and Amphi will make the trip to Douglas to face the Bulldogs.
Benson 12, Morenci 6
In the 30th meeting between Benson and Morenci, the Bobcats prevailed in a defensive battle. They hold a 16-14 series lead since 1984.
Benson has the inside track to the 2A San Pedro title with a 4-0 record with games remaining at Tombstone on Friday and at home against Willcox on Nov. 13.
Eloy Santa Cruz 43, Sequoia Pathway 0
Rishard Davis’ Santa Cruz team is 4-1 at the Class 2A level after last night’s victory, with its lone loss against Class 4A opponent Casa Grande last week.
Santa Cruz senior Hunter Ogle continued to show his dominance with an 85-yard touchdown run on Friday night. His brother Wyatt, a junior, had an interception and ran it to the 1-yard line and then scored on the next play.
The Dust Devils next play Friday at Arizona College Prep in Chandler.
Willcox 50, Bisbee 16
Willcox is 3-0 in its five-game season with a showdown looming at unbeaten Benson to end the regular season in two weeks, but the Cowboys first have a tough game against Morenci (4-1) at home Friday.
Willcox’s standouts last night included quarterback Ayden Fuentes and running backs Christian Pando and Ote Allsup.
Geoffrey Gribble scored Bisbee’s touchdowns.
The Pumas (0-5) play at Pima (1-2) next Friday.
Pima 52, Tombstone 7
Tombstone’s lone touchdown was Brandon Redenbo’s 53-yard run late in the third quarter.
The Yellow Jackets (0-5) faces a steep test at unbeaten Benson on Friday.
St. David 58, San Manuel 0
St. David (5-0) won the battle of the unbeatens, coasting after taking a 32-0 lead at the end of the first quarter. The Tigers clinched the 1A South title with the victory.
Logan Davis completed 10 of 14 pass attempts for 210 yards with four touchdowns and no interceptions.
Talon Haynie rushed for 190 yards on 11 rushes with two touchdowns. He also had 13 tackles with four for loss.
Kason Jacquez had six catches for 125 yards and a touchdown.
St. David hosts Fort Thomas (1-3) on Friday in the regular-season finale. The 1A state playoffs begin Nov. 13.
San Manuel (3-1) ends its regular season next week at Superior.
6A Mountain Ridge (3-2) at 5A Salpointe (3-0), 7 p.m.
5A Cholla (0-0) at 6A Tucson (0-0), 7 p.m.
5A Flowing Wells (0-0) at 5A Sunnyside (0-0), 7 p.m.
5A Maricopa, (1-4) at 5A Marana (0-0), 7 p.m.
5A Buena (2-2) at Ironwood Ridge (0-0), 7 p.m.
5A Rincon/UHS (0-0) at 2A Tanque Verde (0-0), 7 p.m.
4A Canyon del Oro (0-1) at 5A Desert View (0-0), 7 p.m.
4A Walden Grove (1-0) at 4A Sahuaro (0-0), 7 p.m.
4A Amphitheater (1-0) at 4A Douglas (0-1), 7 p.m.
4A Empire (0-0) at 4A Pueblo (0-0), 7 p.m.
4A Rio Rico (0-1) at 2A Santa Rita (0-0), 7 p.m.
3A ALA-Ironwood (0-5) at 3A Pusch Ridge (4-1), 7 p.m.
3A Sabino (0-0) at 3A Sahuarita (0-0), 7 p.m.
2A Benson (4-0) at 2A Tombstone (0-5), 7 p.m.
2A Santa Cruz (4-1) at 2A AZ College Prep (4-1), 7 p.m.
2A Bisbee (0-5) at 2A Pima (1-2), 7 p.m.
2A Morenci (3-1) at 2A Willcox (3-0), 7 p.m.
1A San Manuel at 1A Superior (5-0), 6 p.m.
1A Valley Union (1-4) at 1A Duncan (0-5), 6 p.m.
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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.