Welcome to the fifth week of the high school football season, roughly the mid-point of the schedule. It’s been a whirlwind season so far, with a cavalcade of highs and lows among the six schools in Northwest Tucson
We’ve seen the continued brilliance of Marana senior gunslinger Trenton Bourguet, whose crisp passes and improvisation skills have spearheaded the Tigers resurgence.
We’ve seen surprising performances by relative newcomers to the high school scene, like Canyon del Oro sophomore back Stevie Rocker and Ironwood Ridge junior quarterback Octavio Audry-Cobos.
We’ve also seen some early struggles at Mountain View and Catalina Foothills, with the Lions sitting at 0-3, while the Falcons are 1-2.
To better follow all of the action, Tucson Local Media has decided to start up a weekly segment ranking the six squads within our coverage, in order of their yearlong performance. Those teams will be CDO, Ironwood Ridge, Marana, Mountain View, Catalina Foothills and Pusch Ridge.
Let’s get started on our first installment of the Tucson Local Media High School Football Power Rankings:
6. Mountain View Lions (0-3)
Last Week: Lost to Casteel, 56-0
This Week: At Tucson High School, 7 p.m.
It’s been a long season for Clarence ‘Bam’ McRae’s Lions squad, falling to Ironwood Ridge, Higley and Casteel by a combined score of 137-28. The biggest issue for the Lions has been their inconsistent offense, with sophomore quarterback Hayden Parson throwing six interceptions in three starts. The Lions’ rushing attack has struggled as well, averaging 100 yards per game, with two scores on the ground in three games. That dearth of offensive production has put the team’s defense on its heels, spending the majority of games on the field, which wears them down and leaves them susceptible to big plays. There’s plenty of season remaining for the Lions to get back on-track, but a loss to a 3-0 Tucson High School squad on the road this week would leave them in bad shape for making the state playoffs for the first time since 2015.
5. Pusch Ridge Christian Academy Lions (1-2)
Last Week: Lost to CDO, 33-7
This Week: vs. Snowflake, 7 p.m.
The Lions have faced a daunting schedule this season, blowing out Rio Rico, 48-12 in its opener before falling to Walden Grove and CDO by a combined score of 34-7. Jerry Harris’ team has plenty of talent, with receiver/slotback Evan Lovett and senior quarterback Jonathan Stanton showing glimpses of brilliance, but their lack of experience has been an Achilles heel. The Lions, who have not missed the playoffs since 2006, have another daunting battle this week, hosting a 3-1 Snowflake squad that’s outscored its opponents 114-63 this season. The Lions’ playoff odds will receive a major boost if they’re able to beat the Lobos on Friday, ahead of a daunting four-week stretch that includes road games against Fountain Hills, Tanque Verde and Sabino.
4. Catalina Foothills (1-3)
Last Week: Lost to Sabino, 21-17
This Week: Bye Week
The Falcons have had an up and (mostly) down season through four weeks, beating Buena of Sierra Vista, 28-17, in their opener on Aug. 17 before falling to Cactus, Marana and Sabino by a combined score of 92-49. The Falcons’ rushing attack under legendary coach Jeff Scurran has been impressive, averaging 224 yards per game on the ground. The issue for Scurran’s bunch is their inefficient passing attack, with senior QB Joaquin Holm completing 62.2 percent of his passes for 359 yards in four games, with two passing touchdowns and three interceptions. The Falcons also have to contend with their inefficient defense, which is surrendering 214.8 passing and 139.5 rushing yards per game, with half as many interceptions forced (3) as they’ve committed this season. It’ll be interesting to see what the team looks like when they return from their bye week to play Pueblo at home on Sept. 21.
3. Ironwood Ridge (1-2)
Last Week: Lost to Campo Verde, 17-13
This Week: vs. Peoria Centennial, 7 p.m.
The Nighthawks have faced a grueling schedule to this point, blasting Mountain View in its opener, 42-14, before falling to likely-playoff teams Millennium and Campo Verde by a combined 7 points. The Nighthawks quest for a section title doesn’t get any easier this week, with undefeated Centennial heading to Oro Valley. The Coyotes are 3-0 this year, with wins over Nevada power Bishop Gorman, Casteel and Cienega. They’ve outscored those three by a combined score of 90-26, which speaks to their dominance this season. The Nighthawks will need a near-flawless performance for Audry-Cobos, who had 54 passing and 119 rushing yards for the team last week, to have a chance come Friday. It will be interesting to see whether Audry-Cobos and senior back Nathan Grijalva, who had a team-high 126 yards on 33 carries last week, can crack the Coyotes’ top-notch rush defense. It’s a tough task for any team to try and contain the Coyotes, but Matt Johnson’s squad has done it before, so we’ll sit back and wait to see if they can do it once more at home come Friday night.
2. Canyon del Oro (2-1)
Last Week: Beat Pusch Ridge Christian Academy, 33-7
This Week: vs. Amphitheater, 7 p.m.
The Dorados have had a two-week turnaround to remember, thanks to the exploits of sophomore running back Stevie Rocker, who has 611 rushing yards and 7 rushing scores this season. The Dorados’ once-marauded defense suddenly looks ferocious, after holding Pusch Ridge to 7 points in last week’s contest. Senior quarterback Zach Eidenschink has looked the part of an experienced game manager so far for Dustin Peace’s team, with 442 yards and 6 passing touchdowns to only 1 interception this season. The Dorados should continue their turnaround act this Friday, when they host an Amphitheater squad that’s been outscored 110-64 through four games. The Dorados offense has been explosive this season, averaging 465.3 yards per game, including 318 on the ground. They suddenly look like a dark horse upset pick over Salpointe Catholic in the Division 4A Kino region.
1. Marana (4-0)
Last Week: Beat Desert View, 35-0
This Week: vs. Williams Field, 7 p.m.
The Tigers are off to their best start since they started 5-0 in 1998, sitting at 4-0. The Tigers, under first-year coach Louie Ramirez, have looked like a juggernaut this season, outscoring their opponents 138-56. The Tigers have thwarted Phoenix-area powers Horizon and Fairfax, while also thumping Catalina Foothills and Desert View. They enter this week’s game against a strong Williams Field team out of Gilbert with a full head of momentum. Senior quarterback Trenton Bourguet is averaging 257.8 passing and 69 rushing yards per game with 12 touchdowns for the Tigers. Fellow senior Xoeius Ratliffe has been equally impressive at running back, with 358 rushing yards and 5 touchdowns for the Tigers, while sophomore receiver Isaiah Roebuck is fast making a name for himself on the outside, with 20 catches for 320 yards and 2 touchdowns to his credit. Senior speedster Diego Marana is thriving at receiver as well, with 19 catches for 276 yards and a team-high 4 receiving touchdowns for the Tigers. The team’s defense, under former University of Arizona assistant Vince Amey, has been phenomenal as well, with senior T.J. Cephers and David Bertelsen leading the team in tackles, with 28 and 25 to their credit this season, with 3 tackles for loss apiece. Trenton’s younger brother, Coben, has been a stud on both sides of the ball as well, with the junior snagging two interceptions on defense and 9 catches for 175 yards and 3 touchdowns on offense. The Tigers are the kings of 5A in Southern Arizona and have a chance to put the rest of the state on-notice come Friday night, against a Black Hawks team that won the 5A state championship in 2016.