With three weeks left in the football season, Nogales and Cienega both need to win out to have any chance at getting back to the state playoffs.
The problem? The two meet on Friday night.
Cienega (2-5) is coming off only its second win of the season, a 42-21 drubbing of Sunnyside, and will have some momentum gathered when it hosts the Apaches (3-4), who have dropped their last two games.
Coach Nemer Hassey and the Bobcats have never had a losing season and have made it to the state playoffs in each of the last 10 years. Meanwhile, Nogales and sophomore Coy Colgate made it to the Division III state semifinals last year.
With the rest of the fall sports also winding down, here are three other events in Southern Arizona to keep an eye on this week:
Girls volleyball: One night after Ironwood Ridge suffered its first regular-season loss this year, against Division I power Chandler Hamilton, the Nighthawks got back to business and won their 100th home game in school history to begin a new run.
I-Ridge (10-1) will go for its second straight win Tuesday at Marana at 6:30 p.m. The Nighthawks, ranked third in Division II, had won their first nine matches before losing on the road to Hamilton in straight sets on Wednesday.
Girls Volleyball: Tucson High, still fresh off winning the Lion’s Den Invitational this weekend, will travel to Salpointe Catholic on Wednesday and face the Lancers for the second time in less than a week at 6 p.m.
The Badgers (27-3) beat Salpointe to reach the championship of the double-elimination tournament at Mountain View on Saturday and later beat Gilbert Campo Verde to win the title.
Tucson, led by senior captain Summer Avery’s 160 kills, is No. 8 in the Division II seedings and is likely headed for the state tournament, while Salpointe (19-11) is 14th.
Football: If Canyon del Oro beats Marana on Friday night, the Dorados will almost certainly be headed back to the state playoffs for the ninth time in the last 10 seasons.
CDO (6-1) has won four straight games since losing to Ironwood Ridge on Sept. 12, including a 19-12 victory at Catalina Foothills two weeks ago that put the Dorados in the driver’s seat to win the section and earn an automatic Division III playoff berth.
Marana, though, could also win the section with some help, starting with a win at CDO. The Tigers (4-3) have won three of their last four, with their last two losses coming by a combined four points.