Pusch Ridge improved to 12-0 in power-ranking games after the Lions defeated Pueblo 26-0 Wednesday night. It is the best start for the program since the 2014 squad went 20-2 before losing to Desert Christian in the state championship game. The Lions earned a state title in 2009 and this could be the best shot to collect another trophy.
Pusch Ridge is ranked No. 3 in the 3A Conference behind No. 1 Northwest Christian (13-0) and No. 2 ALA-Gilbert North (12-1). Eastmark (10-3) is No. 4. The Lions can clinch an automatic playoff berth with a victory over No. 17 Sabino (7-5) Thursday night.
— Andy Morales (@AZPreps365Andy) April 14, 2022
According to the state qualifying rules for the 3A Conference, the top two teams in each of the seven regions will earn an automatic berth to the play-in bracket at a minimum. No. 10 Tanque Verde (9-2) is currently second behind Pusch Ridge in the 3A South Region.
The play-in tournament at this level is slated for Saturday, April 30 and the first round of the state playoffs is scheduled for Tuesday, May 3. The semifinal round will be played under a double-elimination format for the 3A Conference. The Goodyear Baseball Complex will host the semifinals and the championship will be played at Tempe Diablo Stadium on May 17.
The Pusch Ridge baseball program hosted a “Kicks4Kids Night” on Wednesday and the program collected 50 pairs of new sneakers plus funds to purchase five more. The community project was started by senior standout Hayden Hallett.
Former minor league standout Chad Chop is in his first year with Pusch Ridge. Chop was a firefighter in Tucson from 2007 to 2013 before serving as a special assistant with the San Francisco Giants. The Giants won a World Series Championship in 2014. Chop moved over to the Dodgers system in 2019 and the organization won a World Series with Chop on staff in 2020.
Thank you Pusch Ridge!!! 50 new pairs and a few bags of cleats that I will find a home for plus funds to buy at least 5 more shoes!!! #kicks4kids Organizes by senior Hayden Hallett. https://t.co/14HdKQIMa4 pic.twitter.com/3W8sYjdtwC
— Andy Morales (@AndyMorales8) April 14, 2022
Named one of “Arizona’s Heart & Sol” by KOLD and Casino del Sol, Andy Morales was recognized by the AIA as the top high school reporter in 2014, he was awarded the Ray McNally Award in 2017 and a 2019 AZ Education News recognition. He was a youth, high school and college coach for over 30 years. He was the first in Arizona to write about high school beach volleyball and high school girls wrestling and his unique perspective can only be found here and on AZPreps365.com. Andy is a Southern Arizona voting member of the Ed Doherty Award, recognizing the top football player in Arizona, and he was named a Local Hero by the Tucson Weekly for 2016. Andy was named an Honorary Flowing Wells Caballero in 2019, became a member of the Sunnyside Los Mezquites Cross Country Hall of Fame in 2021 and he was a member of the Amphi COVID-19 Blue Ribbon Committee. He earned a Distinguished Service Award from Amphitheater and he was recognized by City Councilman Richard Fimbres. Contact Andy Morales at firstname.lastname@example.org