2023 High School Football

No. 4 Sabino headlines all five 3A South teams in state playoffs

No. 4 Sabino, which upset No. 1 Mohave on Friday night at home, is one of the five schools that comprise the 3A South that qualified for the 16-team 3A state playoff field.

The Sabercats, 7-3 under coach Ryan McBrayer, will host No. 13 River Valley (7-3) on Friday at 7 p.m. With its No. 4 seed, Sabino is in position to host at least the first two rounds of the playoffs, the first time that could happen in McBrayer’s seven years as coach.

The other four 3A South teams to qualify with first-round games Friday at 7 p.m.:

— Region champion Morenci, the No. 6 seed at 7-3 will host No. 11 Franklin (7-3). The Wildcats are under first-year coach Rishard Davis, who coached Eloy Santa Cruz Valley to its first state title in 30 years in 2020.

— No. 7 Thatcher, under coach Daniel Jones, is 7-3 heading into its home game against No. 10 Florence (8-2).

— No. 8 Pusch Ridge, coached by Kent Middleton, is 7-3 with a home game scheduled against No. 9 Blue Ridge (8-2).

— Safford is the last team in at No. 16 with a 4-6 record — indicative of the strength of the 3A South — and will play at top-rated Mohave (9-1). The Bulldogs will not be taken lightly by Mohave. Safford beat 3A South champion Morenci on the road.

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