I'll be here tonight at 7 to answer your questions about Southern Arizona high school football. Please feel free to submit questions before 7.
Thanks for joining me tonight to talk some high school football. Let's get started.
The two biggest players Rodriguez is targeting are juniors Andrew Mike from Sabino and Cameron Denson from Salpointe Catholic. Both are nationally ranked recruits for 2014 and impact players. Neither have trimmed their list of schools yet, but the UA will certainly be involved with both. Rodriguez won't want either player to get out of Tucson.
Buena's Dominique Drake is having a fantastic season in his first year of Southern Arizona football. He transferred in from Maryland and right now has a claim as being the best running back in the area. He's gone up against some very good teams this year--Phoenix Mountain Pointe, Cienega, Sahuaro--and handled himself well in those matchups. Only a junior, he'll be one of the top dogs next year, too.
The three teams most likely to make a deep run in the postseason are Ironwood Ridge, Salpointe Catholic and Sabino. I-Ridge and Salpointe are both in Division II and hopeful they will be on opposite sides of the bracket. If that's what happens, an all-Southern Arizona DII final is very possible. Both teams are loaded enough to make a run. Sabino will likely be the No.1 seed in Division III and will be one of the favorites to win a state championship. Other teams to keep an eye on: Sahuarita, Cienega and Buena.
It's going to be tough for the Badgers. Not only are they currently on the outside of the top 16, they have to deal with a couple of automatic qualifiers from Phoenix that are also outside the top 16. So, Tucson essentially has to jump four or five teams to get into the playoffs. A win over Sunnyside tomorrow will help. A loss will likely end their hopes for the playoffs.
Sabino is certainly is in the discussion for best team in Southern Arizona, but Ironwood Ridge and Salpointe Catholic are also in it. We won't see Sabino face either of the DII powers, but they would be a couple of great games. Sabino has a load of talent on offense and maybe the best offensive lineman in the state in Andrew Mike. In our poll, we currently have I-Ridge No. 1, Salpointe No. 2 and Sabino No. 3.
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He's half receiver, half tight end, but Sabino junior Matt Bushman is as dynamic as it gets. He leads Southern Arizona receivers with 700 yards and has nine touchdowns and is a matchup nightmare. He is another top recruit who Rich Rodriguez and Arizona will evaluate over the next year.
That's a great question! Cameron Denson certainly is the top recruit down here and Andrew Mike would have to be the second best. Three others I'd put with them are Ironwood Ridge senior Tyler Williams, Sabino junior Matt Bushman and Salpointe junior offensive lineman Breeon Auzenne.
Sahuarita is a very interesting team. The Mustangs did not have a challenging schedule (not their fault, the schedules are done by the AIA), but the one difficult game they had, Nogales, they won pretty easily. Coach David Rodriguez's team has some serious weapons on offense. Aric Howard is a threat to score every time he touches the ball. Josh Lee is a steady senior quarterback, who isn't prone to making mistakes and senior RB Chris Snodgrass has been as dependable as any running back in Southern Arizona. If the Mustangs can get a top-four seed and host two games, they can definitely make a run.
Cienega sophomore Adriell Alvarado is having a very solid season and has a very bright future ahead of him the next two seasons. I'm hesitant to call Cameron Denson a full-time QB. So, all that said, I'd give the nod to I-Ridge's Tyler Williams. He was a stud in the team's big-time 28-24 win over Peoria Centennial and made some jaw-dropping plays. He's a veteran, who has been to the state semifinals two years in a row and knows how to play his best when the stakes are the highest.
ML--never sleep on Cienega and coach Nemer Hassey. Teams will want to avoid the Bobcats in the postseason. They are well coached, they play hard and usually execute at a high level. To be where they are (6-2) after losing 18 starters last season is amazing. Mountain View has also shown an ability to pull an upset.
This is our game of the week tomorrow and will be a fun one. Sunnyside is coming off a heartbreaking loss to Yuma Cibola, losing 28-27 and Tucson has won three games in a row and seem to be coming together at the right time of the year. The loser won't be going to the playoffs and the winner will have a chance. Sunnyside has a tough finish to its year, playing Tucson tomorrow and at Sierra Vista Buena next week. A pair of wins would do big things for coach Glenn Posey.
Sabino OL Andrew Mike would be my pick. He's so physically imposing, it looks like he could play for a Pac-12 program tomorrow. He's very humble and maybe most importantly seems to really be improving every time he takes the field.
Another really good question! Keep an eye on the Marana Tigers. They started 0-5 thanks to a brutal stretch in the schedule, but have now won three in a row. A win tomorrow over CDO, something that's never happened at Marana, would do big things for this program. They have a lot of talent returning next season including QB Ben Honea, who has had a solid junior campaign. Sahuaro and Sierra Vista Buena are also two teams who are having good seasons this year and could have great seasons next year. Pueblo also continues to show improvement under former Arizona Wildcats LB Adrian Koch.
I sure hope so, but you never know. There is not a game at Arizona Stadium that day, so it would be available. Another thing working in Southern Arizona's favor is the title games this year are not on Fox Sports Arizona. So, the AIA does not have to worry about accommodating TV crews. That's something that will be interesting to watch over the next few weeks.
Boy, that's tough. Both teams are loaded on both sides of the ball. I'd be surprised if it's an extremely high-scoring game. Both defenses are too good for that. I think the game will be a very physical and close matchup. Check back next week for the Star's prediction.
I don't see it. No disrespect to Nate Gahn and his Rincon/University team, but they will have a very tough time matching up with the Lancers. Also, Salpointe coach Dennis Bene has done a good job this season keeping his team focused week after week, blowout after blowout. I'd look for the Lancers starters to be enjoying the fourth quarter from the sideline.
I-Ridge's ground attack is tough to stop. QB Tyler Williams and RB Anthony Braunreiter are a potent 1-2 punch. If you focus on one, the other can beat you in a hurry. It also helps the Nighthawks that Williams is so effective on the outside and Braunreiter can do his damage in the middle of the field. Salpointe's ground attack with Johnny Pena, Cameron Denson and others is also special.
Walden Grove coach Chris Sargent loves to say "we'll be the only team in Arizona next year with 22 starters back." And, he's right. The Red Wolves only have freshmen, sophomores and juniors at their school right now, meaning their entire roster will be back next season. Sargent had hoped for a 5-5 season before the year, but his squad is 5-3 now and should be headed for the playoffs. They could win seven or eight games next year in Division IV.
It sure has been a rough stretch for the Dorados this season. Their biggest downfall has been that for the first time in at least three years, they don't have Southern Arizona's best player. Losing Ka'Deem Carey and Blake Martinez couldn't have been fun for coach Dusty Peace. It's going to be tough for the Dorados to get back to the very top, where they were.
I think it's unlikely at this point. If he ever pops up at a school in Southern Arizona again, my guess would be Catalina Foothills. But, he seems to be happy doing what he's doing. One thing I've learned in my three seasons here is never say never with Jeff Scurran.
Come back next week and find out! It sure is going to be a tough game to pick.
Alexander is almost 100 yards behind Buena's Dominique Drake and has to go up against the Salpointe defense tomorrow night. It's going to be tough for him. I'd think Drake will end up as the leader.
I-Ridge's Tyler Williams would probably be my pick for MVP right now. It's tough to imagine where the Nighthawks would be without him. He's been a one-man show at times. Buena's Dominique Drake is also in the discussion as is Sabino's Matt Brindley.
I think Sunnyside-Tucson has a chance to be a great game as does CDO-Marana. The CDO-Marana matchup really intrigues me. Marana would match its win total from the past three seasons combined if it can pull out a win against the Dorados.
I'll stay away from best, but say my favorite defensive back to watch on Salpointe is junior safety Jay Williams. He has picks in three straight games and plays the game at such a high level and plays so hard. He reminds me of Matt Brindley at Sabino. Both seem to always be around the ball, making plays for their team.
I think the Salpointe D may have too many weapons to have a true MVP. The team's starting linebackers--Carlos Carroll, Jake Casteel and Taylor Powell--have all been great this season and formed a heck of a unit at linebacker. (Powell just returned from an unofficial recruiting visit to UCLA). Jay Williams has also been great as has senior Austin Sene.
There are a lot of quality coaches down here and a lot of young coaches, who seem to be at the beginning of bright careers. Coaches who come to mind right away are Salpointe's Dennis Bene, Sabino's Jay Campos, Ironwood Ridge's Matt Johnson, Cienega's Nemer Hassey, Sahuaro's Scott McKee and Tucson's Justin Argraves.
Thank you to everyone for joining me tonight. It was a lot of fun. Come back next week (Thursday at 7 p.m., again) and we'll do it again. I have a feeling we'll even chat a little Ironwood Ridge-Salpointe. Thank you again.