Welcome to the second half of the high school football season as the race for the state playoffs reaches its fever pitch.
Last Friday’s contests saw two local programs (Canyon del Oro and Mountain View) earn shutout victories.
The former’s 36-0 shellacking of Amphitheater moved them to 5-0 for the year, while the latter’s 12-0 victory over Tucson gave them their first taste of victory.
The other three northwest programs (Ironwood Ridge, Marana and Pusch Ridge) all lost their games, with the first two now sitting at 1-3 for the year, while the Tigers are 0-5.
The Catalina Foothills Falcons had a bye week, entering this week’s clash with an undefeated Pueblo squad with a 1-3 record for the season.
There were several highlight reel quality performances on the gridiron, however, including those put forth by the Dorados, who are 5-0 for the first time since the 2010 season.
Without further ado, here’s who made the cut in week four of the high school football season in northwest Tucson:
3. Nghishawn Nguyen (Mountain View senior kicker/punter)
Stats: 2/2 field goals (36, 37-yard field goal)
The Lions’ grueling defensive slugfest with the Badgers produced little in the way of points, but lots in the way of special teams prowess. Nguyen stepped in nicely to fill that void, hitting two field goals in the game’s first half to give the team a nice cushion against the Tucson High School Badgers on Friday. Nguyen drilled his two attempts, from 36-and-37 yards, leaving little doubt that the attempts would clear the school’s yellow-colored uprights. It’s always nice to bring attention to the kickers in our midst, as they often go unappreciated. Congrats to the senior for a solid showing in the Lions’ first win of the season.
2. Adam Maldonado (CDO senior cornerback/wide receiver)
Stats: 1 catch, -4 yards/1 interception, 36 yards, 1 defensive touchdown
Maldonado earned what might have been the play of the night in the Dorados’ 36-0 demolition of the Panthers on Friday, taking an errant pass 36 yards for a ‘pick six.’ The senior had a solid night in the defensive backfield for the Dorados, giving the team more than enough help in their coverage schemes to stymie the Panthers and earn the team its fifth-straight victory. The Dorados enter their bye week with a full head of confidence, ahead of a showdown with fellow northwest Tucson stalwart, Catalina Foothills, on Friday, Oct. 4.
1. Montana Neustadter (CDO junior quarterback)
Stats: 5/8, 122 pass yards, 1 passing touchdown/64 rushing yards, 2 rushing touchdowns
Neustadter put together perhaps his best all-around effort against the Panthers on Friday night, passing for a career-high 122 yards and a touchdown, while scoring a rushing touchdown for the second straight contest. Neustadter now has 407 rushing and 630 total offensive yards in five starts this season, with five touchdowns to his name. If he can continue to shine in delivering passes to his receivers, then the Dorados will have a real shot at making a deep playoff run in a few months’ time. It’ll be interesting to see how Neustadter’s production fares once star running back Stevie Rocker returns from a high ankle sprain against the Falcons on Oct. 4, making his long-awaited season debut for Dustin Peace’s team. If Neustadter can continue to thrive in the passing game, the Dorados will have a real shot at contending with region heavyweight Salpointe Catholic for the 4A Kino region title.