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IRHS senior running back Brandon Barrios should play a key role in the Nighthawks’ regular season finale against Cienega on Friday night. 

The final week of the high school football regular season is upon us, with the on-field action at a fever pitch as the temperature off it cools rapidly. 

We’ll find out where everyone shakes out after the dust settles on Saturday morning, with the AIA hosting its selection show in Phoenix that morning. 

We know that Canyon del Oro will be in the dance in 4A, but don’t know whether Ironwood Ridge, Mountain View or Pusch Ridge Christian Academy will qualify until Saturday. 

Friday’s final regular season contests should be a sight to behold, with CDO playing a 5-4 Casa Grande team in Pinal County, while IRHS hosts Cienega and Mountain View/PRCA host Flowing Wells and Catalina Magnet, respectively. 

Expect all three of the borderline playoff teams to come out swinging this week, with their postseason fates hanging in the balance. 

Without further ado, here’s how I see the final week of the high school football regular season going down in northwest Tucson.  

Canyon del Oro (8-1) at Casa Grande (5-4)

Location: Casa Grande High School (2730 N. Trekell Road, Casa Grande) 

The Dorados and Cougars have met three times, with CDO winning each contest. The Dorados previously beat Casa Grande, 43-28 in 2018, 43-13 in 2014 and 55-7 in 2013. 

Prediction: The Dorados are the third-best team in the state in 4A behind Salpointe Catholic (who handed CDO its lone loss this year) and Saguaro. They should have no issues against the Cougars, even though Casa Grande is much improved this season. I’m going with the Dorados in a hard-fought contest, 28-21. 

Ironwood Ridge (5-4) vs. Cienega (7-2)

Location: Ironwood Ridge High School (2475 W. Naranja Drive)

The Dorados and Bobcats have met 12 times since 2004, with Cienega winning nine of those contests. Ironwood Ridge defeated the Bobcats in 2018, 20-17, earning their first win over Cienega since beating them, 17-7 in 2014. 

Prediction: Cienega is a dangerous team this year, with a potent rushing attack that’s spearheaded by junior running back Gabe Levy, who’s rushed for 807 yards and 7 touchdowns. The Nighthawks got boot-stomped by Buena, 27-0 last week and should enter Friday’s game with a taste for vengeance. I’m expecting James Hardy’s team to rebound in a big way, with Brandon Barrios once again leading the charge offensively. I’ll go with Ironwood Ridge to spring the upset in this one, 24-17. 

Mountain View (5-4) vs. Flowing Wells (2-7)

Location: Mountain View High School

The Lions and Caballeros have met six times since 2004, with Mountain View winning five of those contests. The Lions have won two-straight in the series, including a 42-16 win in 2018 at Flowing Wells. 

Prediction: The Lions possess a much greater amount of talent than the Caballeros, so I expect them to once again smash FWHS, with senior two-way star Aaron Logsdon leading the charge. I’ll go with Mountain View to win this one, 49-7. 

Pusch Ridge Christian Academy (4-5) vs. Catalina Magnet (1-8)

Location: PRCA (9500 N. Oracle Road)

The Lions and Trojans have met three times since 2016, with PRCA winning each contest by a combined score of 152-12. 

Prediction: The Lions are far too talented of a team to finish the year with a loss to an overmatched Catalina Magnet team. I expect them to crush the Trojans at home, 56-0, with junior back Evan Lovett rushing for more than 200 yards in the victory.  

Catalina Foothills (3-6) at Sahuaro (7-2)

Location: Sahuaro High School (545 N. Camino Seco)

The Falcons and Cougars have met seven times since 2005, with Catalina Foothills going 2-5 in those games. Sahuaro has won the last two games against the Falcons, including a 21-14 victory in 2018. 

Prediction: Sahuaro is currently the fourth-ranked team in 4A and has a potent rushing attack that’s averaging 288.9 yards per game this year. I expect them to roll past Catalina Foothills, which has the right coaching staff in place but lacks the depth needed to contend against a loaded roster like Sahuaro’s right now. I’ll go with the Cougars to win comfortably on Friday night, 35-21. 

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