Pusch Ridge, which finished the regular season 6-1 following a 56-0 win over Florence on Friday, will start their 3A state title bid with a home game this week against Gilbert Christian.
The play-in game for the third-seeded Lions against the 14th-seeded Knights (4-2) is Friday at 7 p.m.
The Lions are in their first year playing under Kent Middleton, a former Arizona IceCats star who coached for 32 years as an assistant at various high schools before taking over the Pusch Ridge program.
Their lone loss of the season was a tightly-contested 14-7 loss at No. 1 Yuma Catholic on Oct. 9.
Senior running back Evan Lovett finished Friday’s game with 167 yards on 13 carries with two touchdowns. He also had a receiving touchdown. This was in basically a half because he was rested in the third quarter after the Lions built an insurmountable lead.
Lovett, son of former Arizona receiver Lamar Lovett, is at 985 yards on 79 carries with 11 touchdowns in only seven games.
The younger Lovett has nearly 3,000 rushing yards in his career with 2,995 on 329 carries with 34 touchdowns.
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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.