2023 High School Football

4A Semifinals: No. 3 Mica Mountain vs. No. 2 Canyon del Oro

Mica Mountain DE Jimmy Leon will face CDO and bruising RB Kayden Luke in the 4A semifinals (Mica Mountain photo by Stephanie van Latum and CDO by Lexie Fegan/Special to AllSportsTucson.com)

No. 3 Mica Mountain (11-1) at No. 2 Canyon del Oro (12-0)

Date: Friday

Kickoff: 7 p.m.

Stream: NFHS Network (only available live stream)

Mica Mountain coach: Pat Nugent (158-65, 21st season overall, and 20-8, third season at Mica Mountain)

CDO coach: Dustin Peace (117-50, 15th year overall and at CDO)

When Mica Mountain has the ball:

Run percentage: 55.1 percent (340 rushes)

Pass percentage: 44.9 percent (247 passes)

Mica Mountain has the ability to attack a defense with balance. Junior QB Jayden Thoreson is a dangerous passer completing almost 60 percent of his passes (139 of 238) for 2,112 yards. He has 25 touchdowns to go with only five interceptions. … Tough runner Conner Hangartner has gained season-high rushing totals in consecutive playoff games. He had a season-high 141 yards on 15 carries in the first-round win over Snowflake and then 169 yards on 14 rushes in last week’s win over Northwest Christian. Hangartner has 727 yards on 98 carries with 11 touchdowns. He started the season backing up Kason Colbert, until Colbert’s concussion injury suffered last month at CDO. Colbert, an overpowering north-south runner, leads the Thunderbolts with 837 yards on 65 carries with 12 touchdowns. His status for playing on offense is undetermined. He was to undergo tests this week to determine whether he can play on both sides of the ball. He returned to the field last week and played only at linebacker. … Mica Mountain has three receivers to whom Thoreson spreads the ball most — Jonah Garcia (40 catches for 617 yards and eight touchdowns), Jack Bradley (35 receptions for 441 yards and five touchdowns) and Hayward (26 catches for 393 yards).

CDO’s defense has not allowed more than 21 points in a game all season until last week’s game and it took AZ College Prep four overtimes to reach 27 points in the Dorados’ 33-27 win. In five of its 12 games, the opponent has not scored more than a touchdown. … The Dorados’ defense has quality depth with four players with at least 50 tackles — LB Kayden Luke with 56, DE Evan Greer and FS Chase Laux with 53 and CB Izaiah Lucero with 50. Greer, a junior, has a phenomenal 27.5 tackles for loss, including 11 sacks. That means about 51.9 percent of his tackles occur behind the line. … LB Grant Young has eight sacks. … Laux is among the state’s leaders with seven interceptions, including one last week against AZ College Prep. The Dorados have 13 picks as a team. … CDO has 106.5 tackles for loss and 33 sacks.

When Canyon del Oro has the ball:

Run percentage: 77.9 percent (420 rushes)

Pass percentage: 22.1 percent (119 passes)

CDO is a predominantly running team behind 1,917 yards on 221 carries with 24 touchdowns by Luke, a senior, but the Dorados will pass the ball when necessary. … QB Tristen McClelland has completed 60 of 117 pass attempts for 1,029 yards with 16 touchdowns and five interceptions. Nearly one-third of his completions have been for touchdowns. … McClelland’s primary targets are WR Chance Cassel (18 receptions for 312 yards and five touchdowns) and TE Ryan Madsen (14 receptions for 318 yards and six touchdowns. … Backup RB Joe Alba has returned from a leg injury and has gained 347 yards on 50 carries with seven touchdowns. Adrian Davidson (238 yards rushing) and ViJay King (217) are capable senior rushers.

Mica Mountain’s defense under defensive coordinator Brett Darling is significant to the Thunderbolts’ success. … Sophomore LB Broden Schmidt is the team-leader in tackles with 90. Junior DE Jimmy Leon, who has already been offered a scholarship by Arizona State, has 19 tackles for loss among his 71 tackles. He leads the 4A conference with 17 sacks. … Another junior, Jaysen Criswell, has come on strongly on the defensive line with 52 tackles, 5.5 for loss, and six sacks. … CB Devin Hayward, younger brother of former Cienega standout Terrell Hayward, had two interceptions in the end zone in the 31-24 first-round win over Snowflake and another at the Mica Mountain 1 last week against Northwest Christian. He has seven interceptions, joining Laux as one of the state’s leaders. . … One of the Thunderbolts’ top defenders, LB Kason Colbert, was out for a month because of concussion protocol. He returned last week against Northwest Christian and posted nine tackles, one for loss. He has 72 tackles, 3.5 for loss.

Series record

Series is tied 1-1. Mica Mountain defeated visiting CDO 26-7 in the regular-season finale last year to claim the 4A Kino title. The host Dorados beat the Thunderbolts 17-15 on Oct. 13.



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

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.
9/1at Bradshaw MountainW427
9/8Desert ViewW5020
9/15at AmphiW410
9/22at MaranaW4921
10/6at Catalina FoothillsW5014
10/13Mica MountainW1715
10/20at PuebloW467
11/3Walden GroveW219
11/9Poston ButteW4520
11/17AZ College PrepW (4OT)3327
11/24Mica MountainW237
12/1Yuma Catholic

Mica Mountain Interviews

CDO Interviews


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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