State Playoffs - QuarterfinalsPosted: Updated:
The second round of the state playoffs brings a pair of rivalries back to the stage and this time there's more on the line that just a region championship. The Santa Rita Eagles visit Gila Region rival Palo Verde for the second time in three weeks looking to avenge a 21-14 loss that cost them a second straight region title. Ironwood Ridge hosts the Sunnyside Blue Devils with the same stakes on the line.
On Halloween night, the Nighthawks were on the short-end of a 27-24 loss to Sunnyside. In that game Blue Devils quarterback Jesus Vega threw for 289 yards with 2 touchdowns while running back Manny Aguilar and wide receiver Brandon Vaughn recorded over 100 yards at their respective positions. Ironwood Ridge stud middle linebacker/fullback Jake Fischer had to leave the game with a shoulder injury and despite missing the last two weeks, the Nighthawks have outscored their opponents 88-17.
Following their upset loss to the Titans, Santa Rita head coach Jeff Scurran made numerous adjustments to his defense (primarily personnel changes). Even though Titan's superstar athlete Adam Hall's dominance prompted the changes, Scurran says if you think Hall is Palo Verde's only weapon, you're sorely mistaken. The two teams have exchanged wins in the last two seasons, so you can look at this game as a winner take all best of three finale.
Sunnyside head coach Richard Sanchez said it best after defeating South Mountain last week - "you do everything you can just to add 60 more minutes to your season." That's exactly what this quartet of teams is looking to do Friday night. The best part is that only two will fulfill the dream. Will you be there to see it?
Note: 4A match-ups: #6 Canyon Del Oro heads to Phoenix to take on #3 Paradise Valley. #7 Cienega visits #2 Chaparral looking for it's first win over the Firebirds. #3 Salpointe hosts #11 Red Mountain in the only 5A Div-I match-up featuring a Southern Arizona team.