ALL GAMES START AT 7 P.M.
THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 15
Mica Mountain (1-1) at San Tan Valley Poston Butte (1-1)
Mica Mountain is coming off a 41-14 loss at home against Bradshaw Mountain. Poston Butte played in the 4A state championship game last year, losing to Casa Grande.
Catalina (0-3) at Kingman Academy (1-3)
Catalina forfeited its game at Phoenix Cortez last week because of a lack of eligible players but the Trojans will make the trip to Kingman this week, according to coach Greg McKinstry.
FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 16
Basha (1-0) at Salpointe (1-1)
Basha comes to Tucson 2-0 after winning at Los Alamitos (Calif.) High School and beating visiting Desert Ridge. Division I RB prospect Deshaun Buchanan has committed to Idaho. Salpointe counters with Division I Class of 2024 prospect Elijah Rushing.
Vista Grande (0-2) at Ironwood Ridge (0-1)
Ironwood Ridge was originally to have a bye week this week but last week’s cancellation because of lightning at Campo Verde forced the Nighthawks to schedule another game to play 10 games. Vista Grande of Casa Grande obliged.
Desert View (0-1) at Canyon del Oro (1-0)
Desert View’s game at Willow Canyon was also canceled last week because of lightning. The Jaguars will play a CDO team that has also not played in two weeks after beating Walden Grove 28-7 at home.
Goodyear Millennium (2-0) at Cienega (1-0)
This is a great test for Cienega, whose coach Justin Argraves tries to put together a difficult non-region schedule to bolster the program’s chances to make the playoffs at the end of the year. Cienega QB Brayden Cherry leads his offense against a Millennium defense that blanked Agua Fria 49-0 last week.
Buena (1-1) at Nogales (0-1)
Buena is coming off a 35-0 loss at home to Marana last week hoping that another trip to southwestern Arizona is fruitful after winning at Sahuarita two weeks ago. Nogales had two weeks to work out the kinks after losing 10-0 at Rio Rico on Sept. 2.
Douglas (1-0) at Cholla (1-1)
Douglas has not played since earning The Pick trophy at Bisbee two weeks ago while Cholla is coming off a stirring 14-11 win at Sahuarita, a game in which nine of Virgil Henderson’s regular team did not play because of academic ineligibility.
Rincon/UHS (0-2) at Phoenix Alhambra (0-2)
Khyree Copeland’s Rangers are hoping last week’s 12-6 overtime loss at home to Copper Canyon has more of a positive effect than being a downer playing at winless Alhambra, which has been outscored 99-14 in losses to Sierra Linda and Arizona Lutheran.
Phoenix Thunderbird (1-1) at Amphitheater (0-1)
The schools have a series going playing each other for the second consecutive season at Amphi. Last year’s game, won by Thunderbird 24-7, was played on a Monday night.
Walden Grove (1-1) at Chandler AZ College Prep (1-1)
Corey Noble’s Red Wolves rebounded strong from the opening loss at CDO by routing Greenway 48-7 last week behind QB Gabe Smith’s 219 yards passing and three TDs.
Phoenix Sierra Linda (2-0) at Empire (1-0)
Empire has the chance to begin a season 2-0 for the first time since 2012, when the Ravens, coached by Jorge Mendivil, went 8-4 and lost in the second round of the state playoffs.
Rio Rico (1-0) at Flagstaff (0-2)
The Hawks make the uncommon trip to northern Arizona to in attempt to start 2-0 for the first time since 2014.
Sabino (3-0) at Palo Verde (2-2)
3A South opener for both teams. Palo Verde has two straight wins after beating visiting Catalina 60-0 two weeks ago and winning by forfeit over Santa Rita (not enough eligible players) last week. The Titans — playing their first varsity season in two years — face a tall order against Sabino, which is strong on both sides of the ball and is led by junior QB Cameron Hackworth (45 of 66 for 836 yards and 11 touchdowns without an interception).
Benson (3-1) at Pusch Ridge (4-0)
In another 3A South opener, Benson is somewhat of a surprise starting 3-1 after losing most of its starters and coach Chris Determan after last season. The Bobcats are also at the 3A level for the first after transitioning from 2A. Pusch Ridge is unbeaten largely because of the play of junior QB Bubba Mustain (63 of 92 for 1,016 yards with 14 TDs and one interception).
Phoenix Cortez (3-1) over Santa Rita (0-4) (forfeit)
Not enough eligible players forces the Eagles to forfeit another game.
Willcox (3-0) at Morenci (3-0)
One of the top games in the state any classification — Morenci, the defending 2A state champs, host a Willcox team with one of the most potent backfields in the state with Ayden Fuentes and Cristian Pando (1,025 yards rushing combined in only three games).
Tombstone (1-2) vs. St. John Paul II at Sierra Linda (0-3)
Tombstone may have experienced its breakthrough win last week under coach Dominic Bonilla, topping Globe 47-8 behind QB/LB DJ Elias‘ 231 passing yards with five touchdowns, 90 rushing yards with two touchdowns and also an interception on defense.
Gilbert San Tan Charter (3-1) at Tanque Verde (1-2)
Jay Dobyns’ team had the unenviable task of playing at defending state champ Morenci and state title contender Pima on the road in two of the first three weeks of the season.
Bisbee (1-2) at Phoenix Veritas Prep (1-3)
After losing to rivals Douglas and Benson at home the last two weeks, Bisbee travels from State Route 80 up the I-10 to face a struggling Veritas Prep team in Phoenix.
Baboquivari (2-2) at Kearney Ray (1-3)
The Warriors can improve to 3-1 in the 1A South with a win at Ray. They are trying to earn their first overall winning record since 2003.
Heber Mogollon (3-1) at St. David (4-0)
The matchup of the week in the state at the 1A level. St. David will try avenge a loss in the state championship to Mogollon as well as a regular-season defeat last year.
San Manuel (3-1) at Valley Union (0-4)
The Miners will attempt to start 2-0 in the 1A South with a game potentially for the region title at St. David looming Sept. 30.
BYES: Flowing Wells (1-1), Marana (2-0), Sunnyside (1-1), Mountain View (0-2), Tucson (1-1), Catalina Foothills (0-2), Sahuarita (0-2), Sahuaro (1-1), Pueblo (2-0).
FOLLOW @JAVIERJMORALES ON TWITTER!
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.