Sunrise Mountain rides a high octane offense to a No. 1 seed in the 4A playoffs

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Sunrise Mountain High School football team on the strength of a 9-1 record will be a No. 1 seed in the AIA 4A playoffs. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Sunrise Mountain High School football team on the strength of a 9-1 record will be a No. 1 seed in the AIA 4A playoffs. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
The Mustangs earned the top seed while the Saguaro Sabercats fell to the No. 2 seed. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) The Mustangs earned the top seed while the Saguaro Sabercats fell to the No. 2 seed. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
“It’s definitely an honor,” said head coach Steve Decker. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) “It’s definitely an honor,” said head coach Steve Decker. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
“This team has great chemistry,” said Freid. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) “This team has great chemistry,” said Freid. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
PEORIA, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) -

Move over Saguaro, there’s a new beast of the bracket in 4A.

“It’s definitely an honor,” said head coach Steve Decker. “We still have to go through the gauntlet and we’ll see what happens.”

Sunrise Mountain High School last weekend got the news it’s been waiting for since the school opened its doors in 1996. The football team on the strength of a 9-1 record will be a No. 1 seed in the AIA 4A playoffs.

“It was a great feeling,” said senior linebacker Gavin Chaddock. “We’ve been working hard all season and it finally paid off earning that No. 1 seed in the playoffs."

Sunrise Mountain’s lone blemish in 2017, a 24-21 loss to Saguaro back on Sept. 22 but thanks to a strong finish and the power point system, the Mustangs earned the top seed while the Sabercats fell to the No. 2 seed.

“Saguaro beat us,” said Decker. “So we’ll take it [the No. 1 seed] for what it’s worth but it really means nothing at the end of the day. We have to come out and take it one practice at a time and then one game at a time.”

Sunrise Mountain is led by Keegan Freid, a junior quarterback, and senior wide receiver Angel Ruiz. In the Mustangs' nine wins, Freid has engineered an attack that’s scoring over 54 points per game.

“When Keegan flips that switch he’s automatic,” said Chaddock. “It’s first down – first down – first down and then, boom, long ball touchdown.”

Freid in 2017 has thrown for 2,322 yards and 28 touchdowns.

“This team has great chemistry,” said Freid. “We all just band together as brothers and that pushes us through the hard times. The offensive line just works their butt off to give me a little time in the pocket and then I do my best to get it to my wide receivers.”

Points and accolades mean little now as the Mustangs embark on high school football’s second season. They’ll open against 16th-seeded Apache Junction Friday night in Peoria. It's the first step on what Sunrise Mountain hopes will be a journey to a 4A state championship.

“No team in Sunrise history has made it past the quarterfinals,” said Ruiz. “That’s one of our goals – to make it past the quarters but it would be even better to make it state and make history.”

“At the end of the day we have four games to play to win a state championship,” said Decker. “That’s our ultimate goal.”

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