Blogs / Features
Les WillseyStaff Writer, AIA365.com email@example.com
Week 9 FB: Southern Arizona teams face pivotal matchupsOct 16, 2012
Gila Ridge and Cibola meet for Yuma's city championship on Friday night (Oct. 19), but the outcome is more critical to Gila Ridge than Cibola as far as postseason is concerned.
Cibola (5-3) and Gila Ridge (6-2) are in the thick of their respective Division I and Division II playoff chases. For Gila Ridge it's a must win; not so for Cibola. The reason: postseason criteria.
Cibola is fortunate to be a member of Section 1 in Division I. Section 1 in D-I is the weakest by far of the three D-I sections. However, the top three teams in each section receive an automatic berth to state regardless of their overall place in the division seedings. Cibola enters Week 9 at No. 20 in D-I; Gila Ridge is No. 18 in D-II. Gila Ridge must finish in the top 16 of D-II to qualify for the playoffs since it lags far behind the section's top three teams. Cibola is highly likely to remain in the top three of its section regardless of the outcomes of its final two games.
Cibola won last year's game and the city crown with a convincing 28-0 victory. Cibola is led by running back Jordan Mitchell, who passed the 1,000-yard rushing mark last week for the third straight season. Mitchell has rushed for 1,131 yards. He ran for 216 yards last week in the Raiders' 28-27 overtime win over Sunnyside Quarterback Lucky Arvizohas been a consistent complement to Mitchell, passing for 953 yards and 11 TDs. Gila Ridge, which finishes the season on the road next week with a tough game against Lake Havasu, has relied on quarterback Scotty Nickerson, running back Jordan Klostreich and receiver Dalon Perkins.
SUNNYSIDE (5-3) AT TUCSON (5-3): Sunnyside is faced with having to rebound from its overtime loss at Cibola and must regroup to keep its playoff hopes alive. The Blue Devils enter the week No. 19 in D-I seedings while Tucson is No. 17. Both schools likely need to win out to qualify for postseason. Sunnyside likes to run and has multiple weapons in versatile Dominic Martinez, quarterback Christiain Oropeza and backs Rene Solano and Daniel Bonn. Tucson, which won an overtime game over Canyon del Oro last week, 24-21, is led by quarterback Cam Volk, who ran and passed for a TD in the overtime triumph. Volk's TD pass was to sophomore Demetrius Flannigan. Flannigan also recorded a pick-6 in last week. Sunnyside has a third straight road game next week at Buena while Tucson visits Flowing Wells in its finale.
MOUNTAIN VIEW (6-2) AT MOUNTAIN POINTE (7-1): Mountain View likely punched its playoff ticket with its win over Highland last week to run its winning streak to six game. The Toros could gain additional credence with an upset of Mountain Pointe as the regular season draws to a close. Mountain Pointe has cruised to two easy wins the past two weeks after a brutal schedule in August and September.
BASHA (6-2) AT HAMILTON (6-2): Turnovers nearly disappeared (one last week) and one in Basha's favor (interception return) went for a touchdown in the Bears' win over D-II playoff- bound Perry last week. Basha has a very good offense and with its running game led by Rajhan Meriwether. Basha needs it to move the chains and keep Hamilton's defense honest. The Bears also can throw, but would like to stay away from must-passing situations. Wide out Nate Phillips continues to damage the opposition on a weekly basis as one of the state's top pass-catchers. Hamilton, winners of six games in a row, piled up nearly 600 yards of offense against Basha last year in a 44-14 romp. While Hamilton's offense isn't as potent as last year's, it's good enough to make this one a rout if Basha doesn't have success on offense.