MARANA vs. SANTA RITA - 9/5

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It's time to strap on the shoulder pads and helmets, because we've got a full night of high school football games this Friday.  Headlining the way for the HS Gametime Game of the Week are the Marana Tigers and Santa Rita Eagles.  In last years non-conference meeting the Tigers edged out Santa Rita 20-18 with then-senior quarterback Robert Rowe amassing for 286 of Marana's 337 total offensive yards, while being responsible for 2 of the teams 3 touchdowns (1 rushing, 1 passing).  Now, Rowe is a freshman at UNLV and Marana is definitely not the same team. Santa Rita also lost some key seniors from a year ago (QB - Chris Johnson, RB - Aubura Taylor, RB - Joe Chuisano), and even though the Eagles had a number of underclassman see plenty of playing time last season, they're still 13 underclassman starting on offense and defense. 

Marana's starting quarterback, Santiago Miranda, was held out of last weeks 49-7 loss to Scottsdale Chaparral for unspecified reasons and head coach Willie Dudley says Miranda's status may not change by Friday.  With that being said, he will look to RB Mike Kivi who rushed for 76 yards and a TD (vs. Chaparral) finishing the game at quarterback.  Whether he can make plays like Robert Rowe remains to be seen, but Dudley is confident Kivi can fill those shoes to give Marana a chance for a second straight win against the surging Eagles. 

The majority of Santa Rita's upperclassmen are on the offensive line (3 seniors/ 2 juniors), giving head coach Jeff Scurran some security in what looks to be a new crop of offensive playmakers.  Junior quarterback Ian Garlets will make his 2nd career start under center.  Following a 2-touchdown performance from last week his confidence can only grow with a pair of sure-handed targets in wide receivers J.J. Holliday and Greg Jones.  As the offense finds its rhythm, the Santa Rita defense is the unit coach Scurran is certain will lead the team during the early part of the season. 

It's only week 2 of the high school football year, but fans will begin to see which players and teams ascend the ladder of Southern Arizona football's elite.  See you at the game!!

-B. Nash and the FOX11 Sports Force Team