Welcome to week eight of the high school football season, where playoff hopes lie in the balance of each contest.
We were treated to several high-level performances last week, with the Canyon del Oro Dorados, Ironwood Ridge Nighthawks, Pusch Ridge Christian Academy Lions and Mountain View Lions all winning their games.
There were plenty of noteworthy performances in those contests, as well as the hard-fought losses that Marana and Catalina Foothills suffered, against Buena and CDO, respectively.
All six squads are deep into their sectional schedules this week, with Ironwood Ridge and Marana squaring off in Oro Valley, while CDO heads to Sahuaro, Pusch Ridge hosts Sahuarita and Mountain View plays Cienega.
Without further ado, here are the best of the best from an action-packed week seven in Northwest Tucson.
3. Xoeius Ratliffe, Marana senior running back
Stats: 17 carries, 135 rushing yards, 1 rushing touchdown
Ratliffe excelled for the Tigers in their 41-28 upset loss to Buena on Friday night, earning 135 rushing yards, including a 50-yard scamper, to carry the team offensively. The senior back has two 100-plus-yard rushing performances this season, against Desert View and the Colts, and leads the Tigers in yards on the ground this season, with 529 on 93 carries. Marana enters the toughest stretch of its season, starting with Friday’s road clash with a solid 3-3 Ironwood Ridge squad, and will need Ratliffe at his best to have a shot at making the playoffs yet again this year.
2. Evan Lovett, Pusch Ridge Christian Academy sophomore running back
Stats: 6 carries, 122 rushing yards, 3 rushing touchdowns/1 catch, 23 receiving yards
The Lions got back to .500 for the year in dominant fashion on Friday against an overmatch Tanque Verde High School squad, thanks in large part to the effort of Lovett. The sophomore averaged an eye-popping 20.3 yards per carry in the team’s 60-0 win over the Hawks, with a career-high three rushing scores in the game. Lovett has proved himself to be one of the more elusive backs in the region this season, with three-straight 100-yard rushing performances for Jerry Harris’ team.
1. Zach Eidenschink, Canyon del Oro senior quarterback
Stats: 14/19, 303 passing yards, 3 passing touchdowns (0 interceptions)/7 carries, 33 rushing yards
The lanky senior gunslinger had arguably his best performance of his high school career in a 33-21 Dorados victory over Catalina Foothills on Friday. Eidenschink, who has 1,102 passing yards and 12 passing touchdowns this season, torched an overzealous Falcons secondary with pinpoint precision on Friday, completing 73.7 percent of his passes for an average of 21.6 yards per completion. Eidenschink completed passes to five different receivers in the team’s win, hitting receivers Devin Medina and Jayden Bracy, as well as tight end Dustin Sheeley on his three touchdown passes. Expect Eidenschink to sling the ball around a lot this week, as the Dorados look to extend their win streak to six on the road against a Sahuaro Cougars team that’s 5-2 this season.