2023 High School Football

2023 football: 50 top Southern Arizona seniors — Marana quarterback Jason Wood

Today marks only four days until the kickoff of the 2023 Southern Arizona high school football season with games scheduled Friday. AllSportsTucson.com is listing 50 of the top seniors in Southern Arizona during this stretch. This is not a ranking. We acknowledge more than 50 quality seniors will play on high school fields locally this fall and we will report on them accordingly.

Jason Wood, 6-foot-1 and 175 pounds, was a quality replacement to start last season with Marana while senior captain Elijah Joplin rehabilitated from a serious eye injury suffered during the previous summer. By the time Joplin returned in the third game of the season, Wood passed for 528 yards in starts against Mountain View and Buena. He completed 31 of 44 pass attempts with three touchdowns and an interception. … After Joplin returned, Wood shifted to one of the receiving targets and finished with 515 receiving yards on 29 catches with 10 touchdowns. … As a defensive back, he tallied 54 tackles, including four for loss. He also had two interceptions, three pass deflections, a caused fumble and a blocked field goal. Coaches selected him to the All-5A Sonoran Second Team as a defensive back.

Marana coach Phillip Steward on Wood: “The expectation for Jason this season is high. We will go as far as he takes us. He understands the offense and he can read defenses. He was voted captain. The team believes in him and so do the coaches. I believe he will have an outstanding season.”

Marana senior Jason Wood steps in as the full-time quarterback this season, replacing the prolific Elijah Joplin, who passed for almost 3,000 yards (Andy Morales/AllSportsTucson.com)

11. MARANA (5-5)

Head coach: Phillip Steward
Tigers compete in the 5A Southern. Bold are playoff games. Playoff games at 7 p.m.
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
11/9at ALA-Gilbert North


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 seven years ago and is presently a special education teacher at his alma mater Sunnyside High School.

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