The East Valley has dominated girls basketball in 5A-I for the past decade plus with Dobson claiming the crown last year. Will the only school to dent that domination in the new millennuium, St. Mary\'s, strike again?
When Yuma Catholic had to make a play Saturday afternoon the Shamrocks came up aces in their bid to beat Thatcher and reach the 2A state championship football game.
Special teams were as critical as any facet helping Yuma Catholic score two touchdowns in a 2 1/2 minute span of the third period and that propeled the Shamrocks to a harrowing 22-20 win over the Eages at North Canyon High School.
The battle of double-digit seeds in the 5A-I state football playoffs belonged to the team on a major roll -- the Desert Ridge Jaguars.
Quarterback Jordan Becerra ran for three touchdowns and passsed for another and backfield mate Joey Counts added a pair touchdowns as the 10th-seeded Jaguars knocked off sister school and No. 15 seed Gilbert High, 49-22, in a quarterfinal game at Desert Ridge.
Are Blue Ridge and Show Low destined for a rematch in the 3A football title game? Or can either Florence or Snowflake pre-empt that program?
The answer comes Saturday afternoon and evening when the 3A semifinals commence at Paradise Valley High School. The doubleheader kicks off at 4 p.m. with Florence meeting Blue Ridge followed at 7 by Show Low and Snowflake.
Tucson has at least one team in every 5A and 4A quarterfinal football playoff bracket. The East Valley is seven strong in the final eight of the 5A-I bracket. Who do they match up with this week in the quarterfinals of 5A-I, 5A-II, 4A-I and 4A-II?
Time for a quick look, starting with 5A-I:
When Gilbert High dropped its fourth game in five tries to finish September, there was little sense in thinking there was life left in the 2010 Tigers. Except, however, if you are a diehard.
Count Gilbert coach Dan Dunn a diehard.
Mesa Mountain View decided Monday to take its football program in a new direction, removing Tom Joseph as its coach after nine successful seasons that included a state title, three title-game appearances and six region titles.
Florence survived the first half of its 3A quarterfinal matchup Saturday night with Round Valley thanks to two big plays on offense.
The Gophers thrived in the second half on takeaways and controlling the line of scrimmage.
With a shift in emphasis to the running game late this season due to an injury to quarterback Parker Rasmussen, Desert Ridge ran headlong into Chandler High in the first round of the 5A-I playoffs Friday night and ended up running all the way to the second round.
The Jaguars spread-run offense cranked out 462 yards rushing and the defense made a goal-line stand in the final 40 seconds to preserve a 38-35 upset win over the host Wolves.
An all-White Mountain 3A semifinal? It has happened before. Could happen again.
That scenario is as much up to Winslow, Coolidge, Florence and Fountain HIlls as it is to Show Low, Snowflake, Round Valley and Blue Ridge as 3A quarterfinal matchups come to the East Valley on Saturday afternoon and evening.
The 5A-II state football playoffs are similar to 5A-I in that there is a prohibitive favorite in defending champion and top-seed Chaparral.
Beyond that the 5A-II opening-round games do not look anything like their 5A-I counterparts. The matchups ffigure to run like clockwork according to the seeds with perhaps the usual exceptions in a 9-8 or 10-7 matchup. And rather than one rematch of a regular-season meeting, there are four of eight in the initial battles for 2010 5A-II supremacy.
The 5A-I state football playoffs offers some suspense in the early going. Perhaps more so than in recent years so fans should rejoice in that aspect.
Hamilton (5A-I) is the prohibitive favorite to be sure with an unbeaten record and defending state-champion status. And it is a bit of an odd year when Mesa Mountain View and Brophy are double-digit rather than single-digit seeds and qualify with .500 records.
It is hard to imagine when teams play 40 matches in the same conference that they did not meet at least once during the season.
That was the case with perennial 5A-I contender Desert Vista and on-coming Desert Ridge Thursday night in the state girls volleyball quarterfinals.
Desert Vista was not a region champ, but paid its dues in the Fiesta Region with the likes of state tournament qualifiers Xavier, Hamilton and Red Mountain. That experience and an adjustment midway through the match helped in rallying from two games down as the No. 4 seeded Thunder recorded a 24-26, 19-25, 25-12, 25-18, 15-12 win over the No. 12 Jaguars.