Welcome to the first real week of sectional play in Southern Arizona, with several noteworthy matchups in these parts.
First off, Canyon del Oro puts its four-game win streak on the line in its homecoming clash with a 2-3 Catalina Foothills squad that is on the mend.
Marana and Ironwood Ridge face a pair of winnable home games against Buena and Nogales, respectively.
Mountain View will try to right their 0-5 start at home against Cholla, while Pusch Ridge Christian Academy will look to continue their solid play against Tanque Verde High School at home.
Without further ado, here’s how I see the six programs of northwest Tucson stacking up as we enter week six of the high school season.
1. Marana (4-1)
Last Week: Bye Week
This Week: vs. Buena (3-2), 7 p.m.
The Tigers are rested and ready to launch their second half of the regular season against a pesky Colts squad led on offense by junior quarterback Jovoni Borbon, who leads the team in passing (171.8) and total yards per game (193.8). Louie Ramirez’s squad got a week off after losing their first game, against Gilbert’s Williams Field High School, 33-14 on Sept. 14. Expect the Tigers, led by senior gunslinger Trenton Bourguet, to blow the lid off this one early, cruising to their fifth win of the year against the Colts.
2. Canyon del Oro (4-1)
Last Week: Defeated Prescott High School, 35-23
This Week: vs. Catalina Foothills (2-3), 7 p.m.
The Dorados showed their mettle last week against a talented Badgers squad, thanks to a solid effort turned in by seniors Zach Eidenschink at quarterback and Diego Munguia at running back. Eidenschink did what he needed to through the air to loosen up the Badgers’ secondary, completing 7-of-9 passes for 193 yards and a touchdown, while earning 73 yards and a score on the ground. Munguia, who stepped up after sophomore starter Stevie Rocker went down with an ankle injury, rushed for a team-high 171 yards and three scores to pace the team to a double-digit victory. The Dorados can show their mettle against a gutsy Falcons squad that is 2-3 this season, but coming off a victory of their own against Pueblo.
3. Ironwood Ridge (2-3)
Last Week: Defeated Desert View, 48-15
This Week: vs. Nogales (2-3), 7 p.m.
The Nighthawks got back on-track in a big way against an overmatched Jaguars team on the road last week, thanks to a performance to remember from senior back Nathan Grijalva. Grijalva was able to slash and dash the Desert View defense all night, with 164 rushing yards and four touchdowns in the win, while junior QB Octavio Audry-Cobos had 125 yards and a touchdown in the victory. The Nighthawks kick off sectional play against Nogales at home on Friday, in what should be a one-sided contest for Matt Johnson’s squad.
4. Catalina Foothills (2-3)
Last Week: Defeated Pueblo, 31-12
This Week: At Canyon del Oro (4-1), 7 p.m.
The Falcons fought off the mat against the Warriors last Friday, snapping their three-game losing streak in style. Both Dominic Bynum and Isaiah Bae cracked the 100-yard plateau for Jeff Scurran’s squad, accounting for 118 and 114 yards apiece, with three scores between them. The Falcons will be in for a test against CDO on Friday but are trending in the right direction heading into the contest.
5. Pusch Ridge Christian Academy (2-3)
Last Week: Defeated Fountain Hills, 27-3
This Week: Vs. Tanque Verde (2-3), 7 p.m.
The Lions have survived a daunting non-sectional schedule relatively-unscathed, sitting 16th overall in the AIA’s first poll of the season. They host a Hawks team on Friday that’s 2-3 despite being outscored 175-62 in those games. Don’t be surprised if Evan Lovett, who leads the Lions in rushing yards per game (83.6) has a huge night, or if quarterback Jonathan Stanton finds a way to score a few times before the night is done, in what should be a relatively-easy victory for the Lions.
6. Mountain View Lions (0-5)
Last Week: Lost to Cienega, 38-21
This Week: At Cholla (0-5), 7 p.m.
The Lions have had a brutal season to this point, losing all five of their games by a combined score of 104-63. They’ve been the beneficiary of bad luck and bad timing, with a non-existent running game and a promising passing game that’s just now finding its groove under sophomore Hayden Parson. Parson looks like the real deal at quarterback, with the sophomore averaging 198 yards per game for Clarence McRae’s team. He should have a big game against the Chargers, who have given up more than 30 points per game this season, while scoring 14 points in five contests.