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.