WEEK EIGHT (games start at 7 p.m.)
THURSDAY, OCTOBER 6
St. David 29, Fort Thomas 0 (called at halftime, lightning)
ST. DAVID (8-0, 6-0 1A South)
QB Ryan Gooding, 5-7, 93 yards, 2 TDs, 0 INT
RB Conner Curtis, 25-yard TD run
RB/LB Marek Haynie, 38-yard TD run, 4 tackles for loss (2.5 sacks)
WR Kydin Richardson, 33-yard TD reception
FRIDAY, OCTOBER 7
Mica Mountain (1-3) at Salpointe (2-2)
Mica Mountain, on a three-game losing streak, is undergoing growing pains in its first full varsity season while Salpointe is trying to gain momentum heading into its first season in the 6A East Valley.
Sunnyside (2-2) at Tucson (2-2)
This game was shifted from Sunnyside’s campus to Tucson’s Gridley Stadium because of the turf field being installed at Sunnyside is not yet complete. Many of Tucson’s assistant coaches, who were with Richard Sanchez before Sanchez resigned in August, played for Sanchez when he coached the Blue Devils.
Sahuaro (2-2) at Buena (3-1)
Buena has the opportunity to start 4-1 in a season for the first time since 2019 when the Colts finished 8-3. The Colts have started 4-1 only twice since 2006. Al Alexander continues his rebuild with the Cougars, who can reach three wins in a season after going 1-11 in the previous two seasons.
Catalina Foothills (2-2) at Canyon del Oro (3-1)
CDO is establishing itself as a 4A power in the state with QB Tristen McClelland, who has been effective in his starts the last two weeks completing 63 percent of his passes (17 of 27) with five touchdowns. Catalina Foothills has won its last two games — including an impressive 34-14 win over Tucson last week — after losing its first two games. CDO’s Dustin Peace is now 98-48 in his 14th season as head coach.
Douglas (3-1) at Phoenix Carl Hayden (1-3)
The Bulldogs suffered a 28-20 upset loss at home against Glendale Independence last week. Now Douglas, led by playmaking junior athlete Emiliano Berthely, head into the Phoenix area trying to start 4-1 legitimately for the first time since 2011. The 2018 team started 5-0 but had to forfeit the victories due to the use of ineligible players.
Casa Grande Vista Grande (3-2) at Cholla (1-3)
Cholla coach Virgil Henderson is hoping a week off can re-energize the Chargers, who feature prolific running back Malachi Eafon, who is always a return threat on kickoffs and punts.
Marana (3-1) at Cienega (1-3)
This was a highlighted rivalry when Trenton Bourguet was at Marana and Jamarye Joiner at Cienega. The game will involve tremendous playmaking receivers, including Marana’s Dezmen Roebuck and Cienega’s Keron Watson, both of whom are on Arizona’s recruiting radar.
Ironwood Ridge (0-4) at Flowing Wells (1-3)
Former Flowing Wells coach Scott Cortese returns as a member of Ironwood Ridge’s coaching staff. Both schools are trying to gain footing under new head coaches — Dale Stott at Ironwood Ridge and Brian Hook at Flowing Wells.
Walden Grove (2-2) at Mountain View (1-3)
Both teams are coming off impressive wins — Mountain View 42-0 at Nogales and Walden Grove 34-6 at home against Pueblo. Mountain View coach Matt Johnson always schedules difficult to start the season to better prepare the Mountain Lions for region play. This is the last week before region games begin.
Desert View (1-2) at Nogales (0-4)
Desert View coach Robert Bonillas returns to his alma mater to coach against the Apaches, who are trying to end an eight-game losing streak dating to last season.
Sahuarita (0-4) at Pueblo (3-1)
Sahuarita is also trying to put an end to a prolonged losing streak, seven games dating to last year. Pueblo senior QB Diego Ramirez has evolved into one of the best players at his position in Southern Arizona in coach Jake Allen’s three-year tenure. Sahuarita coach Jake Price and Allen come from the Matt Johnson Coaching Tree at Ironwood Ridge and Mountain View.
Amphitheater (0-4) at Rincon/University (1-3)
Should be competitive battle with both schools challenging for a victory heading into their region schedule.
Empire (3-1) at Rio Rico (1-3)
The Ravens are one of the most impressive stories in Southern Arizona this season starting 3-1 despite losing significant seniors from last year, including linebacker/running back Jake Lambert and quarterback Miles Kinney. Defensive end Michael Cosentino and linebacker Auri Flores each have 42 tackles, 10.5 for lost yardage. Rio Rico is hungry to end a three-game losing streak.
Maricopa Sequoia Pathway (2-3) at Sabino (5-1, 2-1 3A South)
The Sabercats look to get back on track after last week’s 41-20 loss at Pusch Ridge last week. The Sabercats’ Berryhill brothers (Savaughn and Shamar) are the two top receivers in Southern Arizona (Shamar 24 catches for 529 yards and Savaughn 27 receptions for 499 yards).
Palo Verde (2-4, 0-2 3A South) at Safford (1-5, 0-2)
The Titans, who canceled last year’s varsity season because of a lack of eligible participants, will try to win two road games in a season for the first time since the 2018 season. Palo Verde will be coached in this game by Keith Smith because head coach Jamal Chatman is ill. Smith was an assistant under Jeff Scurran at Catalina Foothills before going to Palo Verde.
Benson (4-2, 1-1 3A South) at Thatcher (6-0, 2-0)
Benson regularly played Thatcher until the 2019 season when both teams were classified in 2A. Now they are both 3A schools. The teams played each other in the early rounds of the 2A state playoffs in 2012 and 2018 with the Eagles winning both games.
Catalina (0-6, 0-1 2A San Pedro) at Tanque Verde (2-4, 1-0)
Tanque Verde is going from a win by forfeit over Santa Rita (which has canceled its season because of a lack of eligible players) to hosting a struggling Catalina team that is on a 16-game losing streak dating to 2019.
Bisbee (2-4, 0-1 2A San Pedro) at Tombstone (3-3, 1-0)
Tombstone continues to make strides under second-year coach Dominic Bonilla, a former Yellow Jacket who has led the program to its most wins since his mentor Mike Hayhurst had a 5-5 season in 2018. Bisbee has confidence after playing Willcox tough at home last week before losing 35-22.
San Manuel (5-2, 3-1 1A South) at Kearny Ray (1-6, 1-3)
San Manuel lost at St. David last week but the Miners have their sights on a potential playoff spot if they close out the regular season beating Ray on the road and then Baboquivari at home next week.
Willcox (5-2, 2-0 2A San Pedro) over Santa Rita (Forfeit)
BYES: Pusch Ridge (6-1), Baboquivari (3-4), Valley Union (1-6).
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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. He became an educator five years ago and is presently a special education teacher at Gallego Fine Arts Intermediate in the Sunnyside Unified School District.