WEEK 13 – Thursday (7 p.m. kickoffs)
6A EAST VALLEY
No. 14 Salpointe (6-3, 2-1) at No. 12 Queen Creek (5-4, 2-1)
The Lancers have won three straight games — all at home — and return to the road for the first time since losing at Mesa Red Mountain on Oct. 14. Salpointe has a shot at the region title but it’s likely that Red Mountain will come out on top because it plays at last-place Mesa Mountain View. The Lancers, under emerging quarterback Fredo Sotelo, are in a good position to host a first-round game of the 6A playoffs that start next week.
No. 47 Rincon/UHS (1-8, 0-4) at No. 8 Marana (8-1, 4-0)
No. 25 Buena (6-3, 2-2) at No. 39 Ironwood Ridge (1-8, 0-4)
No. 43 Cholla (2-7, 1-3) at No. 40 Nogales (2-7, 2-2)
This could very well be the last home game for Marana this year. The Tigers are at No. 8, the last spot that can host in the first round, but playing No. 47 Rincon/University will adversely affect their power rating. … Buena, with the top running back in Southern Arizona — sophomore Andres Bonilla (1,546 rushing yards) — can finish 7-3 in a tumultuous season that included head coach Joseph Thomas suspended for four games for a formality (an investigation into staff members at the school for undisclosed reasons). Thomas was cleared of wrongdoing and has returned to the sidelines. .
No. 37 Tucson (3-6, 1-3) at No. 20 Cienega (4-5, 3-1)
No. 30 Mountain View (4-5, 3-1) at No. 23 Desert View (5-3, 3-1)
No. 26 Sunnyside (6-3, 3-1) at No. 38 Flowing Wells (3-6, 2-2)
Cienega’s overtime loss at Mountain View last week likely knocked the Bobcats out of the state playoffs, although a victory over Tucson High and losses by teams around them in the ratings could push them up to contention. … Mountain View and Desert View, with two coaching friends Matt Johnson and Robert Bonillas going against each other, are playing for a shot at the region title. … Sunnyside could finish 7-3 in Thomas Romack’s first season, a tremendous accomplishment after taking over for Glenn Posey and bouncing back from a 1-2 start.
No. 2 Canyon del Oro (8-1, 4-0) at No. 22 Mica Mountain (5-4, 4-0)
No. 24 Vista Grande (6-4, 2-2) at No. 34 Douglas (4-5, 1-3)
No. 25 Pueblo (5-4, 1-3) at No. 42 Empire (3-6, 0-4)
A CDO victory will likely keep the Dorados at No. 2 in the rankings, and maintaining the chance to host in the state playoffs through the semifinal round. … Story of the game with Mica Mountain is that Thunderbolt coach Pat Nugent coached CDO coach Dustin Peace at Flowing Wells and Nugent later had Peace as his defensive coordinator with the Dorados.
No. 30 Sahuaro (4-5, 2-2) at No. 40 Rio Rico (4-5, 2-2)
No. 43 Amphitheater (1-8, 0-4) at No. 49 Sahuarita (0-9, 0-4)
Matchup for pride at Rio Rico with each school looking to avoid a losing season under first-year coaches Al Alexander at Sahuaro and Jeff Scurran at Rio Rico. Scurran has the Hawks in position to have only their second non-losing season in the 25-year history of the program.
Week 13 – Friday (7 p.m. kickoffs)
No. 20 Catalina Foothills (6-3, 4-0) at No. 17 Walden Grove (7-2, 4-0)
Catalina Foothills, under second-year coach Daniel Sainz, could win its second consecutive region title without going to the state playoffs. Sainz has yet to lose a region game in his tenure — 9-0 record. … A Walden Grove victory will likely get the Red Wolves into the top 16 and in position to make the playoffs. … Both teams are on extensive winning streaks — Walden Grove at six games and Catalina Foothills four.
No. 6 Round Valley (8-3) at No. 3 Pusch Ridge (10-1)
No. 7 Sabino (8-3) at No. 2 Eastmark (10-1)
Pusch Ridge will attempt to get into the semifinals of the 3A state playoffs for the second time in the last three seasons — all under three-year coach Kent Middleton. The senior-leaded team with talented Will Way, Tyler Mustain and Bryce Jewell is bent on going all the way this season after coming close before. … Sabino lost earlier this season at Eastmark but the Sabercats are on a mission with junior quarterback Cameron Hackworth back to full strength after suffering a shoulder injury recently. The old adage of its tough to beat a team twice in a season could come into play here for the hungry Sabercats.
No. 5 Holbrook (11-0) at No. 4 Willcox (9-2)
The running back combo of Ayden Fuentes and Cristian Pando continues to impress. They have combined 2,852 yards rushing. Fuentes averages 11.1 yards a carry and Pando 8.9 — so handing the ball to them consecutively gets Willcox 20 yards on average. Incredible.
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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.