Div I: #4 Brophy vs. #1 Mountain Pointe
Last time these two teams met was a turning point for both teams this season. Mountain Pointe had a 21-10 lead at halftime before Brophy erupted for 44 unanswered points to win the game in the second half. That brought Mountain Pointe back down to earth a little bit after getting off to an amazingly fast start. And Brophy has been absolutely dominant in every game they have played since. What gets me excited about this game will be the matchup on the outside between senior receiver Devon Allen and junior defensive back Jalen Brown. Both are just stupidly talented and it will be fun to see them go head to head. Mountain Pointe will need to get out to that fast start once again and if they do, they this team need to have the right mindset to maintain it.
Div II: #3 Ironwood Ridge vs. #2 Marcos de Niza
The last time these two teams faced off, Ironwood Ridge traveled up from Oro Valley to Tempe and surprised a Marcos de Niza team that had not been handed a loss yet on the year. The difference at the end of the game was the fact that the Knighthawks were able to maintain what they do best in running the football while Marcos got away from their run game. Marcos running back Maurice Lee will be a big factor in this game. Last week he had 339 yards on the ground against Chaparral. Last time he faced Ironwood Ridge, he had six carries for two yards. While Padres quarterback Josh Eckley is capable of beating you with his arm, it is what Marcos can accomplish on the ground that makes them so tough. Ironwood Ridge will look to have a repeat performance of that while also repeating what they were able to do on offense. Wracking up 377 total rushing yards.
Div II: #4 Centennial vs. #1 Salpointe
Major heavy weight fight here. The last time Centennial traveled down to Tucson for a game this season, they were shocked by Ironwood Ridge. While all semi-final games are played at a neutral site, Salpointe will have the clear advantage from a travel stand point with this game being played at Amphi. Centennial has arguably the best offensive line in the state led by Hayden Johnson and Layth Friekh. Yes including all divisions of football. And they will look to utilize that to their advantage with UCLA commit Jalen Ortiz running behind them as always. However the Lancers could have the guys in the front seven up for the challenge. They have quite possibly the best line backing core in the state with SMU commit senior Carlos Carroll, junior Jake Casteel and the teams leading tackler, sophomore Taylor Powell. The three have accounted for 295 tackles this season. This one without a doubt will be heck of a battle.
Div III: #5 Williams Field vs. #1 Desert Edge
Desert Edge has blown away the competition in every game this season. Last week they got their first scare as they came from behind in the second half to knock off the defending champion Saguaro Sabercats. So now the already scary Scorpions have shown they can handle adversity and look to be as confident as ever. Williams Field has no shortage of confidence either. They are coming off their most impressive win of the season completely shutting down a very talented Liberty team and putting up an incredible 53 points. The key in this game will be the run game for Williams Field. Desert Edge has a pesky defense and if they hold 1,000 yard rusher senior Sean Schweichler in check, it could be a frustrating night for the Black Hawks.
Div IV: #3 Seton Catholic vs. #2 Show Low
Show Low has been in the championship game in each of the last three seasons and in all three, got past the semi-final game with relative ease. They have won each semi-final game by an average of 20.6 points. This one may be a little different. Seton has one of the top offenses in the state putting up over 49 points per game. They run a fast paced tempo and are always looking to strike. But the Cougars have been here and have the experience. They also are capable of putting up points as they have scored less than 20 points only once all season. Will the state championship be an all White Mountain affair once again? This game will be the answer.
Div: V: #3 Tempe Prep vs. #2 Morenci
For Tempe Prep it hasn’t always been pretty but they continue to get the job done to get into the semi-finals. Grinding out a win on the final week of the season to hand Northwest Christian their first loss, had somewhat of an offensive struggle in round one against River Valley and overcame turnovers to beat Thatcher in round two. But a win is a win and they will look to add another one against a Morenci team that is on absolute roll. They put up 50 plus in the first two rounds of the playoffs and have won by the average margin of 31 points. Whichever will prevail between Clay Ruedas and the Morenci offensive against Levi Hartzler and the Tempe Prep defense will move on to the state title game.