Pick of the Preps

Football quarterfinals highlight slow prep week

2013-11-11T00:00:00Z Football quarterfinals highlight slow prep weekBy Daniel Gaona Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star

This will be the quietest week of high school sports in Southern Arizona since early August.

Friday night, however, will make up for it.

With all other fall sports coming to a close this past weekend for local teams, the spotlight will shine just on football this week.

Three local big school teams are trying to reach the state semifinals, including top-seeded and undefeated Salpointe Catholic, the only area team that will host a game this week.

Here’s a look at that matchup and the two other games:

Salpointe vs. Peoria Liberty

The No. 1 Lancers (11-0) easily rolled past Yuma Cibola in the first round of the Division II state playoffs last week but will have one of their toughest tests yet on Friday.

Ninth-seeded Liberty has won five straight games and knocked off Mountain View 57-20 in the opening round. The Mountain Lions had given up just 14 points total in the previous four games.

It will be interesting to see how senior linebacker Jake Casteel and the Salpointe defense, which hasn’t given up more than nine points in a game this year, will control the Lions, who average 43.4 points a game.

Canyon del Oro vs. Gilbert Williams Field

After getting its first playoff win since 2010 on Friday night, No. 8 Canyon del Oro will try to knock off top-seeded Williams Field on the road in a Division III quarterfinal.

The Dorados (10-1) have won eight straight games but will have their hands full this Friday against the Black Hawks (10-1) who have won four straight and posted an average of 48 points a game in that stretch.

CDO had a balanced offensive attack in Friday night’s 34-31 win over Gilbert Higley, including 127 yards rushing and three touchdowns from junior Max Smith. It will have to do the same this week if it wants to advance.

Sabino vs. Scottsdale Saguaro

Seventh-seeded Sabino will try to avenge a state semifinal loss from two years ago when it travels to No. 2 Saguaro on Friday.

A win there would send Matt Bushman and the Sabercats to the Division III semifinals for the second time in three seasons, but it won’t be easy. Saguaro (10-1) is undefeated at home this year and has won 10 straight games.

Sabino (9-2) has been on a roll of its own, winning eight straight, and Bushman, a senior tight end, has caught 57 passes for a whopping 1,500 yards and 26 touchdowns.

The last time these two teams met was on Nov. 19, 2011, with a trip to the state title game on the line, and Saguaro came out with a 49-27 win.

Contact high school sports coordinator Daniel Gaona at dgaona@azstarnet.com or 807-7761. On Twitter @DanielGaona13

Copyright 2014 Arizona Daily Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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