The Tucson High boys beat Salpointe 2-1 Tuesday night to remain unbeaten at 13-0 overall and 8-0 in power-ranking matches under head coach Bel Haouala. The win helped solidify a top-ranking in the 6A for the Badgers with three difficult matches coming up starting with a trip to No. 11 Gilbert Highland (3-3) on Friday followed by a 6A Desert Southwest Region match against No. 8 Rincon/UHS (7-1), to be played at Santa Rita High School, on Jan. 25 and a match at home against No. 5 Gilbert Perry on Jan. 28.
Badger junior Luke Skattie scored on a free kick to give Tucson the early lead and then junior striker Eli Martinez put the Badgers up 2-0 at the half. Salpointe senior Sergio Ruiz de Chavez put the Lancers on the board on a penalty kick in the final minute of play for the 2-1 final.
It was an impressive showing for 4A Conference power Salpointe and the Lancers sit at No. 4 with a 4-2 power-ranking record with both losses coming to upper-division teams. 5A Catalina Foothills beat Salpointe 3-2 in the first week of December and the Falcons are No. 8 in the 5A level with a 5-2 record. The Lancers also took 5A power Sunnyside to the wire in a 1-0 loss during the Brandon Bean Invitational but those matches are not figured into the power-ranking equation. The Blue Devils are ranked No.2 with a 7-1 record.
The Blue Devils will visit Salpointe again Thursday night in another high-stakes match full of power points and bragging rights before playing four straight 4A Kino Region matches.
The region champions in the 3A and 4A conferences will earn an automatic playoff spot while 5A and 6A play for rankings but all four conferences are hosting a play-in tournament before the state brackets are developed.
Tucson won the program’s only state title in 2014 under the late Ismael Arce, Sunnyside reached the top in 2019 under Casey O’Brien and Salpointe won the 8th title in school history last winter under Wolfgang Weber.
No. 7 Desert View (6-1) is also in the top ten in the 5A Conference with nine teams from 3A to 5A currently playing for a spot in the various play-in tournaments.
Andy Morales was recognized by the AIA as the top high school reporter in 2014, he was awarded the Ray McNally Award in 2017, a 2019 AZ Education News award winner and he has been 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. His own children have won multiple state high school championships and were named to all-state teams. Competing in hockey, basketball, baseball and track & field in high school, his unique perspective can only be found here and on AZPreps365.com. Andy is the 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 and he earned a Distinguished Service Award from Amphitheater. Contact Andy Morales at email@example.com