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AIA releases official schedules for 2023 football season


The aligning of new regions, the scheduling and the re-scheduling is complete.

The official 2023 high school football schedules were released by the AIA this week.

The season starts Aug. 18 with schools from 1A, 2A and 3A competing. The 4A, 5A and 6A schools start their seasons Aug. 25.

The following are the schedules of teams from Southern Arizona (including some not in Southern Arizona but were placed in regions with teams from this area):

6A CENTRAL

— Marana is the only team from Southern Arizona on Salpointe’s schedule. Only one other time has that happened — in the COVID-19-shortened 2020 season when the Lancers played only Buena among their six regular-season games.

— The Lancers will play a California school (Bishop Alemany in Mission Hills in the second week on the road) for the first time since they played at Crespi in Encino on Sept. 7, 2013. The Lancers won the Division II state championship that year with a 14-0 record.

— Salpointe, under fourth-year coach Eric Rogers, plays three of its four 6A Central games at home, but in between that slate, the Lancers will play non-region games at Peoria Liberty and Scottsdale Saguaro. Those schools played each other in the Open Division semifinals last year with Saguaro beating Liberty 43-42 before the Sabercats lost to Chandler Basha in the championship.

2. SALPOINTE CATHOLIC (10-2)

Head coach: Eric Rogers
Lancers compete in the 6A Central. Bold are playoff games. Playoff games at 7 p.m.
DateOpponentW/LSalOpp
8/25MaranaW3514
9/1at Bishop Alemany (CA)W5221
9/8at Shadow RidgeW4924
9/15Valley VistaW506
9/29Desert VistaW3424
10/6Corona del SolW2920
10/13at LibertyL049
10/20Mountain PointeW3526
10/27at SaguaroW2114
11/3at Brophy PrepL1214
11/9Corona del SolW410
11/17Williams FieldW3525
11/24Saguaro

5A SOUTHERN

— Buena is coming off a 7-3 season but did not qualify for the 5A state playoffs. How the Colts handle a stretch of three straight road games against 5A Southern foes Desert View, Cienega and Sunnyside in October will go a long way to determining if they can reach the postseason this year.

15. BUENA (7-3)

Head coach: Joe Thomas
Colts compete in the 5A Southern. Bold are playoff games. Playoff games at 7 p.m.
DateOpponentW/LBueOpp
8/25FairfaxW400
9/1at Ironwood RidgeW3520
9/8Catalina FoothillsW3328
9/15at TucsonW2113
9/22PuebloW3414
9/29MaranaL055
10/6at Desert ViewW3614
10/20at CienegaL617
10/27at SunnysideW1514
11/3Casa GrandeL3531
11/9at Desert Edge

— Casa Grande, part of the 4A Kino in 2021, is back to a regional with Southern Arizona schools after playing Phoenix-area schools last season.

— Former Arizona and Denver Broncos standout cornerback Randy Robbins has returned to his alma mater to be the athletic director after stepping down before the recently-completed school year for family reasons.

10. CASA GRANDE (5-2, 2-0)

Head coach: Mark Luna
Cougars compete in the 5A Southern. *Region game. Games at 7 p.m.
DateOpponentW/LOvrReg
8/25at Corona del SolL, 14-00-10-0
9/1NogalesW, 50-01-10-0
9/8at Paradise ValleyW, 45-152-10-0
9/15MaricopaW, 72-73-10-0
9/22at Mica MountainL, 42-273-20-0
9/29at Desert View*W, 50-64-21-0
10/6Cienega*W, 53-215-22-0
10/20Sunnyside*------
10/27Marana*------
11/3at Buena*------

— Cienega will try to return to the state playoffs in Justin Argraves’ third year at the school.

— Three of the Bobcats’ non-region games are against Phoenix-area schools — Mesa Desert Ridge (coached by former Sunnyside coach Roy Lopez), Phoenix Paradise Valley and Tempe McClintock. Paradise Valley went 9-2 last season while Desert Ridge and McClintock were each 3-7.

22. CIENEGA (3-3, 0-1)

Head coach: Justin Argraves
Bobcats compete in the 5A Southern. *Region game. Games at 7 p.m.
DateOpponentW/LOvrReg
8/25at Desert RidgeL, 49-80-10-0
9/1Paradise ValleyW, 30-171-10-0
9/8TucsonW, 28-242-10-0
9/15at Walden GroveL, 26-72-20-0
9/21McClintockW, 23-193-20-0
10/6at Casa Grande*L, 53-213-30-1
10/13at Sunnyside*------
10/20Buena*------
10/27Desert View*------
11/3at Marana*------

— Desert View opens its season not against Sunnyside as has been the case in recent years. The Jaguars will host Phoenix-area schools Surprise Willow Canyon (7-3 last season) and Phoenix North (3-7) in the first two weeks.

— The Jaguars and Blue Devils are regional foes for the first time since 2014. The Sunnyside Unified School District rivals will conclude the season at Desert View on Nov. 3. Hard to believe — they have never concluded the regular season against each other. They have played each other in the season opener 14 times.

Robert Bonillas, entering his 12th season at Desert View, will coach at his alma mater Nogales on Sept. 15.

27. DESERT VIEW (3-4, 0-2)

Head coach: Robert Bonillas
Jaguars compete in the 5A Southern. *Region game. Games at 7 p.m.
DateOpponentW/LOvrReg
8/25Willow CanyonW, 26-251-00-0
9/1NorthW, 25-72-00-0
9/8at Canyon del OroL, 50-202-10-0
9/15NogalesW, 49-133-10-0
9/22at Walden GroveL, 33-63-20-0
9/29Casa Grande*L, 50-63-30-1
10/6Buena*L, 36-143-40-2
10/20at Marana*------
10/27at Cienega*------
11/3Sunnyside*------

Phillip Steward goes into his third season leading one of the most respected programs in Southern Arizona, evidenced by non-region road games against Salpointe to start the season and Gilbert Higley on Sept. 8. Higley won the 5A state championship last season with a 12-2 record.

11. MARANA (5-5)

Head coach: Phillip Steward
Tigers compete in the 5A Southern. Bold are playoff games. Playoff games at 7 p.m.
DateOpponentW/LMarOpp
8/25at SalpointeL1435
9/1at TucsonW437
9/8at HigleyL2429
9/15at Mountain ViewL3542
9/22Canyon del OroL2149
9/29at BuenaW550
10/6at SunnysideL617
10/20Desert ViewW498
10/27at Casa GrandeW429
11/3Cienegaw460
11/9at ALA-Gilbert North

Thomas Romack coached the Blue Devils to a 7-3 record in his first season but did not make the state playoffs last year despite not playing one game at home because of turf being installed on the field.

— Go figure: Sunnyside will play its first three games on the road this season before finally playing a game on its new turf Sept. 15 against Mica Mountain.

21. SUNNYSIDE (3-3, 1-0)

Head coach: Thomas Romack
Blue Devils compete in the 5A Southern. *Region game. Games at 7 p.m.
DateOpponentW/LOvrReg
8/25at ApolloL, 28-30-10-0
9/1at Flowing WellsW, 28-101-10-0
9/8at Raymond S. KellisL, 21-71-20-0
9/15Mica Mountain*L, 35-71-30-0
9/22Nogales*W, 43-62-30-0
10/6Marana*W, 17-63-31-0
10/13Cienega*------
10/20at Casa Grande*------
10/27Buena*------
11/3at Desert View*------

5A SONORAN

— Flowing Wells’ two non-region road games are against schools outside this area — Avondale Agua Fria and Barry Goldwater. Agua Fria was 1-9 last season and Goldwater 7-3.

42. FLOWING WELLS (1-6, 0-2)

Head coach: Brian Hook
Caballeros compete in the 5A Sonoran. *Region game. Games at 7 p.m.
DateOpponentW/LOvrReg
8/25at Agua FriaL, 21-160-10-0
9/1SunnysideL, 28-100-20-0
9/8AmphiL, 27-210-30-0
9/15SahuaritaW, 35-71-30-0
9/21at Barry GoldwaterL, 56-281-40-0
9/29at Ironwood Ridge*L, 35-71-50-1
10/6at Mountain View*L, 35-141-60-2
10/20Tucson*------
10/27at Nogales*------
11/3Maricopa*------

— Ironwood Ridge was in a serious rebuilding phase last year with nearly every starter gone from the year before and finished 1-9 in Dale Stott’s first season. The Nighthawks open on the road against Chandler Seton Catholic, which was 2-8 last season.

16. IRONWOOD RIDGE (8-2)

Head coach: Dale Stott
Nighthawks compete in the 5A Sonoran. Bold are playoff games. Playoff games at 7 p.m.
DateOpponentW/LIROpp
8/25at Seton CatholicW5930
9/1BuenaL2035
9/8at EmpireW280
9/15DouglasW4714
9/22at SahuaroW447
9/29Flowing WellsW357
10/6TucsonW3722
10/20at NogalesW540
10/27at MaricopaL1421
11/3Mountain ViewW1817
11/9at Higley

Matt Johnson’s program traditionally plays top teams from the Phoenix area during the non-region schedule, and this year will be no different.

— The Mountain Lions open at Gilbert, which went to the 5A state playoffs last year. Gilbert was eliminated by Scottsdale Horizon, which will visit Mountain View in Week 2 on Sept. 1. The game will mark the return of Horizon coach Andy Litten to Marana, where he coached the Tigers before moving to the Phoenix area. Litten is a Mountain View grad who walked on to Dick Tomey’s program at Arizona. Mountain View will then play at Peoria Sunrise Mountain (3-7 last year).

28. MOUNTAIN VIEW (2-4, 1-0)

Head coach: Matt Johnson
Mountain Lions compete in the 5A Sonoran. *Region game. Games at 7 p.m.
DateOpponentW/LOvrReg
8/25at GilbertL, 27-210-10-0
9/1HorizonL, 52-00-20-0
9/8at Sunrise MountainL, 53-140-30-0
9/15MaranaW, 42-351-30-0
9/29Walden GroveL, 35-211-40-0
10/6Flowing Wells*W, 35-142-41-0
10/13Nogales*------
10/20Maricopa*------
10/27at Tucson*------
11/3at Ironwood Ridge*------

— Nogales will transition to Joshua Jetton as head coach after alum Jake Teyechea was not retained. Teyechea is now the offensive coordinator at Sahuarita. Jetton comes to Nogales from being a line coach at Steilacoom (Wash.) High School. He served as a head coach of a middle school in Tacoma.

45. NOGALES (0-6, 0-1)

Head coach: Joshua Jetton
Apaches compete in the 5A Sonoran. *Region game. Games at 7 p.m.
DateOpponentW/LOvrReg
8/25PuebloL, 35-130-10-0
9/1at Casa GrandeL, 50-00-20-0
9/8Rio RicoL, 39-00-30-0
9/15at Desert ViewL, 49-130-40-0
9/22at SunnysideL, 43-60-50-0
10/6at Maricopa*L, 41-00-60-1
10/13at Mountain View*------
10/20Ironwood Ridge*------
10/27Flowing Wells*------
11/3at Tucson*------

— The Badgers have turned to former Salpointe running backs coach Zachary Neveleff as their head coach. Neveleff is young and aggressive, and his name is well-known among youths in Southern Arizona, a perfect mix for Tucson.

— For the third consecutive year, Tucson will host Phoenix South Mountain, which has former Arizona linebacker great Byron Evans as head coach.

35. TUCSON (1-5, 0-1)

Head coach: Zachary Neveleff
Badgers compete in the 5A Sonoran. *Region game. Games at 7 p.m.
DateOpponentW/LOvrReg
8/25South MountainW, 62-241-00-0
9/1MaranaL, 43-71-10-0
9/8at CienegaL, 28-241-20-0
9/15BuenaL, 21-131-30-0
9/22Catalina FoothillsL, 28-211-40-0
10/6at Ironwood Ridge*L, 37-221-50-1
10/13at Maricopa*------
10/20at Flowing Wells*------
10/27Mountain View*------
11/3Nogales*------

4A KINO

Dustin Peace’s team nearly reached the 4A state championship game last year despite off-the-field issues.

— The Dorados will host Mesa Eastmark to open the season Aug. 25. Eastmark was elevated to 4A this season after winning the 3A state championship last year with a 13-1 record. They will then travel to Prescott Valley Bradshaw Mountain, which finished 8-4 last season, advancing to the 4A state quarterfinals.

2. CANYON DEL ORO (13-0)

Head coach: Dustin Peace
Dorados compete in the 4A Kino. Bold are playoff games. Championship 12/1 starts at 4 p.m. at ASU.
DateOpponentW/LCDOOpp
8/25EastmarkW2114
9/1at Bradshaw MountainW427
9/8Desert ViewW5020
9/15at AmphiW410
9/22at MaranaW4921
10/6at Catalina FoothillsW5014
10/13Mica MountainW1715
10/20at PuebloW467
10/27SahuaroW420
11/3Walden GroveW219
11/9Poston ButteW4520
11/17AZ College PrepW (4OT)3327
11/24Mica MountainW237
12/1Yuma Catholic

— After playing at San Tan Valley Combs (6-4 last year) to open the season, the Falcons will host perennial 3A power Yuma Catholic in Week 2. The Shamrocks are also now at the 4A level.

— Interesting: Daniel Sainz’s team plays four of its five non-region games on the road but hosts four of its five games against 4A Kino opponents.

23. CATALINA FOOTHILLS (3-4, 1-1)

Head coach: Daniel Sainz
Falcons compete in the 4A Kino. *Region game. Games at 7 p.m.
DateOpponentW/LOvrReg
8/25at CombsW, 20-161-00-0
9/1Yuma CatholicL, 37-201-10-0
9/8at Buena*L, 33-281-20-0
9/14at Pusch RidgeL, 28-131-30-0
9/22at TucsonW, 28-212-30-0
9/29Sahuaro*W, 43-73-31-0
10/6Canyon del Oro*L, 50-143-41-1
10/20Walden Grove*------
10/27at Pueblo*------
11/3Mica Mountain*------

Pat Nugent’s third season at Mica Mountain will start at San Tan Valley Poston Butte (6-5 last season) on Aug. 25. The Thunderbolts host Gilbert Mesquite in Week 2. Mesquite was 1-9 last season after going 9-4 with a loss in the semifinals to eventual 4A state champion Casa Grande in 2021.

3. MICA MOUNTAIN (11-1)

Head coach: Pat Nugent
Thunderbolts compete in the 4A Kino. Bold are playoff games.. Playoff games at 7 p.m.
DateOpponentW/LMMOpp
8/25at Poston ButteW3428
9/1MesquiteW3412
9/8SabinoW497
9/15at SunnysideW357
9/22Casa GrandeW4227
10/6at PuebloW570
10/13at Canyon del OroL1517
10/20SahuaroW5520
10/27Walden GroveW217
11/3at Catalina FoothillsW2821
11/9SnowflakeW3124
11/17Northwest ChristianW3817
11/24at Canyon del Oro

— Pueblo, under third-year coach Jake Allen, plays all Southern Arizona foes, except Vista Grande, which went 7-4 last season.

26. PUEBLO (3-3, 0-1)

Head coach: Jake Allen
Warriors compete in the 4A Kino. *Region game. Games at 7 p.m.
DateOpponentW/LOvrReg
8/25at NogalesW, 35-131-00-0
9/1Vista GrandeL, 14-71-10-0
9/8at ChollaW, 27-02-10-0
9/15EmpireW, 31-63-10-0
9/22at BuenaL, 34-143-20-0
10/6Mica Mountain*L, 57-03-30-1
10/13at Walden Grove*------
10/20Canyon del Oro*------
10/27Catalina Foothills*------
11/3at Sahuaro*------

Al Alexander’s second year as Sahuaro’s coach will include four of five non-region games at home but four of five 4A Kino games on the road to close the season. In a brutal stretch, the Cougars must play Catalina Foothills, Walden Grove, Mica Mountain and Canyon del Oro on the road before hosting Pueblo in the regular-season finale.

NO. 32 SAHUARO (2-5, 0-2)

Head coach: Al Alexander
Cougars compete in the 4A Kino. *Region game. Games at 7 p.m.
DateOpponentW/LOvrReg
8/25SabinoL, 19-60-10-0
9/1Northwest ChristianL, 53-220-20-0
9/8at DouglasW, 48-291-20-0
9/15ChollaW, 29-102-20-0
9/22Ironwood RidgeL, 44-72-30-0
9/29at Catalina Foothills*L, 43-72-40-1
10/6at Walden Grove*L, 51-82-50-2
10/20at Mica Mountain*------
10/27at Canyon del Oro*------
11/3Pueblo*------

— Walden Grove coach Corey Noble is bent on making the 4A state playoffs after not qualifying last season despite an 8-2 record. The Red Wolves will open against two Phoenix-area schools that played in the 4A state playoffs last year — at Phoenix Northwest Christian (8-3 last year) and Phoenix Arcadia (6-5) at home. They then play three straight 5A schools from Southern Arizona — Cienega, Desert View and Mountain View.

11. WALDEN GROVE (6-4)

Head coach: Corey Noble
Red Wolves compete in the 4A Kino. Bold are playoff games. Playoff games start at 7 p.m.
DateOpponentW/LWGOpp
8/25at Northwest ChristianL2638
9/1ArcadiaL2834
9/15CienegaW267
9/22Desert ViewW336
9/29at Mountain ViewW3521
10/6Sahuaro*W518
10/13Pueblo*W427
10/20at Catalina Foothills*W4934
10/27at Mica Mountain*L721
11/3at Canyon del Oro*L921
11/9at Northwest Christian

4A GILA

— Amphi has consecutive rivalry games in the non-region portion of the schedule — at Flowing Wells on Sept. 8 and at home against Amphi School District counterpart CDO on Sept. 15.

AMPHI

Head coach: Jorge Mendivil (40-54, 11th season at Amphi and 121-101 overall in 23rd season overall).

Panthers compete in the 4A Gila. *Region game. Games at 7 p.m.
DateOpponentW/LOvrReg
8/30Maryvale------
9/6at Independence------
9/13Flowing Wells------
9/20at Canyon del Oro------
9/27Cholla*------
10/4at Douglas*------
10/11Empire*------
10/18at Rincon/University*------
10/25Rio Rico*------
11/1at Sahuarita*------

— Cholla has gone from 5A to 4A this season after not winning more than two games in a season the previous five years.

CHOLLA

Head coach: Paul Tripp (first year at Cholla and overall)

Chargers compete in the 4A Gila. *Region game. Games at 7 p.m.
DateOpponentW/LOvrReg
8/29at Copper Canyon------
9/6Maryvale------
9/13at Pueblo------
9/20Sahuaro------
9/27at Amphi*------
10/4Rincon/University*------
10/11Douglas *------
10/18at Sahuarita*------
10/25at Empire*------
11/1Rio Rico*------

— The prestigious “Pick Trophy” went to Douglas for the second consecutive year after the Bulldogs won at Bisbee last year. The longtime rivals meet again in Douglas on Sept. 1.

DOUGLAS

Head coach: Hunter Long (15-24, sixth year at Douglas and overall)

Bulldogs compete in the 4A Gila. *Region game. Games at 7 p.m.
DateOpponentW/LOvrReg
8/30ALA - Ironwood------
9/6at Bisbee------
9/13at Sahuaro------
9/20Ironwood Ridge------
9/27Empire*------
10/4Amphi*------
10/11at Cholla*------
10/18at Rio Rico*------
11/1Rincon/University*------
11/8at Sahuarita*------

— Aiming to start strong, George Kelly’s team opens at Phoenix Sierra Linda (4-6 last season) and then at home against Avondale La Joya (2-8).

EMPIRE

Head coach: George Kelly (15-27, sixth season at Empire and overall)

Ravens compete in the 4A Gila. *Region game. Games are at 7 p.m.
DateOpponentW/LOvrReg
8/30Sierra Linda------
9/6at La Joya------
9/13at Ironwood Ridge------
9/20Pueblo------
9/27at Douglas*------
10/4Sahuarita*------
10/11at Amphi*------
10/25Cholla*------
11/1at Rio Rico*------
11/8Rincon/University*------

— Rincon/University is joining Cholla with the move from 5A to 4A to hopefully become more competitive. The Rangers have gone 1-9 the last two seasons and have only one winning record out of the last 10 years.

RINCON/UNIVERSITY

Head coach: Johnny Chan (first year at Rincon/University and overall)

Rangers compete in the 4A Gila. *Region game. Games at 7 p.m.
DateOpponentW/LOvrReg
8/30Washington------
9/6Palo Verde------
9/13at Safford------
9/27Rio Rico*------
10/4at Cholla*------
10/11at Vista Grande------
10/18Amphi*------
10/25Sahuarita*------
11/1at Douglas*------
11/8at Empire*------

Jeff Scurran, making great strides with the program in only his second season at Rio Rico, appears to have a manageable schedule with Vista Grande (7-4 last season) and Florence (8-3) as the only schools coming off winning seasons.

RIO RICO

Head coach: Carlos Duran (first year at Rio Rico and overall)

Hawks compete in the 4A Gila. *Region game. Games at 7 p.m.

DateOpponentW/LOvrReg
8/30at Desert Sunrise------
9/5Glendale------
9/13Nogales------
9/19at Florence------
9/27at Rincon/University*------
10/11Sahuarita*------
10/18Douglas*------
10/25at Amphi*------
11/1Empire*------
11/8at Cholla*------

— Sahuarita almost moved back to the 3A level after going 0-10 last season in 4A, but the school lobbied to stay in 4A to avoid the long travel involved with 3A schools playing in outpost areas. Also, the 3A South, with Sabino, Pusch Ridge, Thatcher, etc., is tougher than some 4A regions.

SAHUARITA

Head coach: Jake Allen (first year at Sahuarita, 15-15, fifth year overall).

Mustangs compete in the 4A Gila. *Region game. Games at 7 p.m.
DateOpponentW/LOvrReg
8/30Alhambra------
9/6at Deer Valley------
9/13at Maricopa------
9/20Flowing Wells------
10/4at Empire*------
10/11at Rio Rico*------
10/18Cholla*------
10/25at Rincon/University*------
11/1Amphi*------
11/8Douglas*------

3A SOUTH

— Morenci, long a 2A power, is moving up to 3A this season with Rishard Davis taking over the program. Davis is the former Arizona walk-on who was an assistant at Flowing Wells and Pusch Ridge before taking over at Santa Cruz Valley and leading the Dust Devils to the 2020 state championship.

MORENCI

Head coach: Frankie Gonzalez (first year at Morenci and overall).

Wildcats compete in the 3A South. *Region game. Games at 7 p.m.
DateOpponentW/LOvrReg
8/23ALA - Ironwood------
8/30Round Valley------
9/6Benson------
9/13Pima------
9/20at Blue Ridge------
10/4at Safford*------
10/11Pusch Ridge*------
10/18at Fountain Hills------
10/25at Sabino*------
11/1Thatcher*------

Kent Middleton’s team will open against Show Low (11-2 last season, reaching the 3A semifinals) at NAU’s Walkup Skydome on Aug. 25. The Lions will host Catalina Foothills, a 4A program, on Sept. 15.

PUSCH RIDGE

Head coach: Kent Middleton (34-11, fifth year at Pusch Ridge and overall)

Lions compete in the 3A South. *Region game. Games at 7 p.m.
DateOpponentW/LOvrReg
8/30at Show Low------
9/6at Benjamin Franklin------
9/13Yuma------
9/20at Catalina Foothills------
9/27San Tan Foothills------
10/4Sabino*------
10/11at Morenci*------
10/18Coolidge------
10/25at Thatcher*------
11/1Safford*------

— Sabino faces an arduous start of the season with four of five games on the road against the likes of Coolidge, Sahuaro, Mica Mountain and Safford. In between those games is a home game against Queen Creek Crismon, which is coached by the late Larry Smith’s son Corbin. Crismon is only in its second season and its athletic director is former Walden Grove athletic director Barry Cromer. On the flipside, Sabino hosts four of its last five games, including the annually anticipated game with Pusch Ridge Sept. 29.

SABINO

Head coach: Ryan McBrayer (56-20, eighth year at Sabino and overall)

Sabercats compete in the 3A South. *Region game. Games at 7 p.m.
DateOpponentW/LOvrReg
8/23Coolidge------
8/30Sahuaro------
9/6at Crismon------
9/13Mica Mountain------
9/20Safford*------
10/4at Pusch Ridge*------
10/11at Thatcher*------
10/18at ALA-West Foothills------
10/25Morenci*------
11/1at Mohave------

— Safford will travel to Tucson to play at 4A school Rincon/University on Sept. 8, a week before opening 3A south play against Sabino at home.

SAFFORD

Head coach: Robert Park (14-18, fourth season at Safford and overall)

Bulldogs compete in the 3A South. *Region game. Games at 7 p.m.
DateOpponentW/LOvrReg
8/23Payson------
8/30at Pima------
9/6Florence------
9/13Rincon/University------
9/20at Sabino*------
9/27at Blue Ridge------
10/4Morenci*------
10/11at Round Valley------
10/18Thatcher*------
11/1at Pusch Ridge*------

— Thatcher went 13-0 before losing to Eastmark in the 3A state championship game. The Eagles also host Crismon. They will also play Sept. 15 at former 3A power Yuma Catholic, which is now a 4A school.

THATCHER

Head coach: Daniel Jones (33-14, fifth season at Thatcher and overall.)

Eagles compete in the 3A South. *Region game. Games at 7 p.m.
DateOpponentW/LOvrReg
8/23Paradise Honors------
8/30at Crismon------
9/6Valley Christian------
9/13at Round Valley------
9/20Yuma Catholic------
10/4at Show Low------
10/11Sabino*------
10/18at Safford*------
10/25Pusch Ridge*------
11/1at Morenci*------

2A SAN PEDRO

— Benson is back to the 2A level after going 5-6 last season as part of the 3A South.

BENSON

Head coach: Chris Rasmussen (first year at Benson and overall)

Bobcats compete in the 2A San Pedro. *Region game. Games at 7 p.m.
DateOpponentW/LOvrReg
8/23at Shadow Mountain------
8/30Phoenix Christian------
9/6at Morenci------
9/20Tombstone*------
9/27at Bisbee*------
10/4Palo Verde*------
10/11Santa Rita------
10/18Catalina*------
10/25Willcox*------
11/1at Tanque Verde*------

Shawn Holley, who was a PE teacher and assistant coach at Holbrook High School the last three years, is the new coach at Bisbee. Holley also has a background of coaching in North Carolina and at Mohave Valley River Valley High School.

BISBEE

Head coach: Carlos Lopez (first year at Bisbee and overall)

Pumas compete in the 2A San Pedro. *Region game. Games at 7 p.m.
DateOpponentW/LOvrReg
8/30at Madison Highland------
9/6Douglas------
9/13Santa Cruz Valley------
9/20at Catalina*------
9/27Benson*------
10/4Willcox*------
10/11at Palo Verde*------
10/18Tanque Verde*------
10/25at Tombstone*------
11/1at Santa Rita------

Greg McKinstry II enters his third season as Catalina’s coach with the hope of stringing wins together. The Trojans have not won more than one game in a season since going 2-8 in 2018.

CATALINA

Head coach: Andy Fetsis (first year at Catalina and overall)

Trojans compete in the 2A San Pedro, *Region game. Games at 7 p.m.
DateOpponentW/LOvrReg
8/23at Highland Prep------
8/30NFL Yet------
9/6at ALA-Anthem South------
9/20Bisbee*------
9/27at Tanque Verde*------
10/4Santa Rita------
10/11Tombstone*------
10/18at Benson*------
10/25Palo Verde*------
11/1at Willcox*------

— The Titans have gone from 4A to 3A and now 2A in the last three years because of dwindling participation rates and competitiveness. The school hopes enhanced equipment in its weight room can help spur student interest in playing football. The Titans have not had a winning season since going 11-2 and reaching the state semifinals in 2009 under Todd Mayfield.

PALO VERDE

Head coach: Jamal Chatman (4-16, third year at Palo Verde and overall)

Titans compete in the 2A San Pedro. *Region game. Games at 7 p.m.
DateOpponentW/LOvrReg
8/30Antelope Union------
9/6at Rincon/University------
9/13at Coronado------
9/20Tanque Verde*------
9/27Santa Rita------
10/4at Benson*------
10/11Bisbee*------
10/18at Willcox*------
10/25at Catalina*------
11/1Tombstone*------

— Another coaching change with former Cienega and Sahuarita defensive coordinator Jeffrey Bollnow taking over for the Hawks, who earned their first state playoff appearance in program history under coach Jay Dobyns last season. Dobyns left after three seasons citing he needed a break from coaching after being a longtime assistant at Salpointe before taking the Tanque Verde job.

TANQUE VERDE

Head coach: Jeffrey Bollnow (9-3, second year at Tanque Verde and overall)

Hawks compete in the 2A San Pedro. Games at 7 p.m.
DateOpponentW/LTVOpp
8/23Phoenix Christian------
9/6Glendale Prep------
9/13at Cortez------
9/20at Palo Verde*------
9/27Catalina*------
10/4at Tombstone*------
10/11Willcox*------
10/18at Bisbee*------
10/25at Santa Rita------
11/1Benson*------

— Tombstone is in its third season under alum Dominic Bonilla, who has led the Yellow Jackets to records of 2-7 in 2021 and 4-6 last year.

TOMBSTONE

Head coach: Dominik Bonilla (15-16, fourth year at Tombstone and overall)

Yellowjackets compete in the 2A San Pedro. *Region game. Games at 7 p.m.
DateOpponentW/LOvrReg
8/29at Heritage Academy Laveen------
9/6San Carlos------
9/13Globe------
9/20at Benson*------
9/27at Willcox*------
10/4Tanque Verde*------
10/11at Catalina*------
10/18Santa Rita------
10/25Bisbee*------
11/1at Palo Verde*------

— Willcox loses its two-headed monster of Ayden Fuentes and Cristian Pando to graduation but coach Eric Hjalmarson has established consistent success with the program.

WILLCOX

Head coach: Jeston Lotts (first year at Willcox, 61-40, 10 years overall).

Cowboys compete in the 2A San Pedro. *Region game. Games at 7 p.m.
DateOpponentW/LOvrReg
8/23at Arizona Lutheran------
8/30Tonopah Valley------
9/6Show Low------
9/20at Santa Rita------
9/27Tombstone*------
10/4at Bisbee*------
10/11at Tanque Verde*------
10/18Palo Verde*------
10/25at Benson*------
11/1Catalina*------

1A SOUTH

Cody Garcia, an assistant coach to Pete Delgado since Delgado became the football coach in 2019, is taking over the Warriors’ program. Delgado has moved on to be Tanque Verde’s line coach. Baboquivari is traditionally strapped for number of students who play football. Garcia knows how to work through that situation. It will be difficult early with the Warriors playing three of their first four games on the road.

BABOQUIVARI

Head coach: Cody Garcia (5-4, second year at Baboquivari and overall)

Warriors compete in the 1A South (8-man football). *Region game. Games at 7 p.m.

DateOpponentW/LOvrReg
8/23Fort Thomas*------
8/30at St. David*------
9/6Valley Union*------
9/20at Ray*------
9/27Duncan*------
10/4at Hayden------
10/18at San Manuel*------

— San Manuel hopes to make another push to a state playoff appearance under alum Ernest Ivy, who has coached his program to at least eight wins the last two seasons.

SAN MANUEL

Head coach: Ernest Ivy (29-17, sixth year at San Manuel and overall)

Miners compete in the 1A South (8-man football). *Region game. Games at 7 p.m.
DateOpponentW/LOvrReg
8/23Lincoln Prep------
8/30at Ray*------
9/6at Duncan*------
9/13Fort Thomas*------
9/20at Valley Union*------
9/27Cicero Prep------
10/4at St. David*------
10/11at Desert Heights------
10/18Baboquivari*------

— St. David plays its first three games on the road, including the first four of five overall. Three of the last four are at home, including a rematch showdown with Hayden in the regular-season finale. The Lobos beat visiting St. David 28-19 to close the 2022 regular season, only one of two losses for the Tigers.

ST. DAVID

Head coach: Braden Davis (41-25, eighth year at St. David and overall)

Tigers compete in the 1A South (8-man football). *Region game. Games at 7 p.m.
DateOpponentW/LOvrReg
8/23at Cicero Prep------
8/30Baboquivari*------
9/6Ray*------
9/13at Duncan*------
9/20Mogollon------
9/27at Valley Union*------
10/4San Manuel*------
10/10at Fort Thomas*------
10/18Desert Christian------

— Valley Union, under second-year coach Skyler Hill, is in search of its first winning season since 2017.

VALLEY UNION

Head coach: Skyler Hill (6-11, third year at Valley Union and overall)

Blue Devils compete in the 1A South (8-man football). *Region game. Games at 7 p.m.

DateOpponentW/LOvrReg
8/30Desert Heights------
9/6at Baboquivari*------
9/13Ray*------
9/20San Manuel*------
9/27St. David*------
10/4at Fort Thomas*------
10/11at Duncan*------
10/18Superior------

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.

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