Three pertinent items about Catalina Foothills’ impressive burst into football’s state 4A championship game against unbeaten Scottsdale Saguaro:
1. The game will kick off Saturday at 10 a.m. at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale. That’s 131 miles away. As of Saturday, Foothills was uncertain whether it would have to drive from Tucson, leaving about 5:30 a.m., on game day, or if it could raise money for a Friday night hotel.
The AIA, which often makes dreadful logistical decisions for Southern Arizona teams, did something similar to Foothills coach Jeff Scurran’s 2008 Santa Rita state championship game team, forcing it to play Phoenix Notre Dame at 11 a.m., at Sun Devil Stadium.
“We left at 5 a.m., that day,” Scurran said. “It wasn’t good.” His team lost 30-26.
Initially, the AIA negotiated with the UA to play the 4A title game at Arizona Stadium on Saturday, but that all changed when UOP Stadium became available about three weeks ago.
Saturday’s three state championship games begin at 10 a.m., 2:30 p.m., and 7 p.m. A more reasonable schedule for the young men involved would’ve been noon, 4 and 8.
2. Foothills QB Rhett Rodriguez has thrown for 8,404 passing yards and 77 touchdowns in four seasons. Scurran says RhettRod “reminds me of a golfer that doesn’t have a bad club in his bag. Short game, putting, driving. He can do it all.”
RhettRod is moving close to the Fab Five QBs in Tucson prep history. I’d rank them like this: 1, Rodney Peete, Sahuaro, 1985; 2, Fred W. Enke, Tucson High, 1945; 3, Pat Flood, Tucson High, 1952; 4, Jim Krohn, Amphi, 1975; 5, James MacPherson, Mountain View, 1998. All became Division I starters at USC, Arizona, Navy, Arizona and Wake Forest, respectively.
3. Scurran is outspoken about powerhouse Phoenix schools escaping Class 6A and 5A to play against smaller schools. “The clear secret to success in Arizona football is dropping down a class and having open enrollment,” he said. “Most of the football powers in Phoenix don’t play in the top divisions because they don’t have to.”
Before beating Gilbert Higley in Friday’s semifinal, Scurran told me “we are the only true 4A team remaining.”
Over the last decade, football-centric Saguaro has defeated title-worthy Tucson teams CDO and Sabino in state championship games.