AIA seedings out: southern AZ teams earn Top-10 spots

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                </div>As the high school football schedule hits the mid-season mark, the first official AIA seedings that were released this week give a good picture of where southern Arizona schools stack […]<!-- AddThis Sharing Buttons below -->
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As the high school football schedule hits the mid-season mark, the first official AIA seedings that were released this week give a good picture of where southern Arizona schools stack up.

Tucson-area teams picked up four top-ten spots in Division II, which is the highest division for those programs since none participate in Division I – although Salpointe Catholic has looked like it should be moved up to play with the big boys this season.  They’ve outscored their opponents 230-28 in running up a 5-0 start to the season that has included wins over last year’s Nevada state runner-up, Liberty High School, and California power, Crespi High from Encino; they beat Liberty 48-7 in the season opener and Crespi, 47-7.

The Lancers are the top-seeded program in D-II and miles ahead of the competition this year – as evidenced in their 40-7 beat-down last week of then-No. 2 Marcos de Niza High.  The Tempe school came into that game averaging 53 points a game.

But Salpointe scored on its first drive of the game and never took its foot off the gas, going into halftime with a 33-0 lead. The Lancers rushed for 227 yards and added another 228 yards through the air, as quarterback Andrew Cota connected on 14 of his 18 passes.  Cameron Denson, who finished the night with 137 receiving yards and two touchdowns, provided the highlight reel of the night when he took a long pass from Cota at midfield and carried it in for a 92-yard pass play for the Lancers’ second score of the night.

And the Marcos offense had no answer for Salpointe’s defense, which held the Padres’ scoring attack, which normally runs up over 500 yards a game, to just 134 yards.  The Lancer defense also recorded six sacks, two fumbles, and an interception.

The other Tucson teams that make up the top 10 in the Division II seedings include Tucson High at No. 6, followed by Sahuaro High at No. 7 and Ironwood Ridge High School at No. 8.  All three are sporting 4-1 records.

Phoenix-area schools fill out the spots between Salpointe and Tucson High, with Sunnyslope High at No. 2, followed by Marcos de Niza High (Tempe), Chaparral High (Scottsdale) and Centennial High School (Peoria). No. 9 Mesquite High (Gilbert) and Tolleson High School round out the top 10.

Division III and Division IV each have a couple of southern teams in the top 10, but none in the top five.  Sabino High (3-2) holds down the No. 7 spot in D-III and Canyon del Oro High School (4-1) comes in at No. 10.  In Division IV, Rio Rico High School (4-1) is No. 9, followed by Palo Verde High (4-1).

There appears to be little to stand in the way of Salpointe’s drive to its first state title, although we’ve still got half a season to play out before the state playoffs begin Nov. 8.

Salpointe takes on Mountain View High School from Marana tonight and could be tested.  The Mountain Lions (3-2) are seeded at No. 17, with their only losses coming at the hands of bigger schools, getting beat by a combined 13 points.  They lost to No. 9 Mesquite, 17-14, and by 10 points to Desert Vista High, a D-I school in Phoenix that is seeded No. 13 in that division.

Mountain View is not a high-scoring team, however, and depends on the quarterback/running back combo of Cody Roshon and Richie Estrada to get their points. Together, that have accounted for all but one of the team’s rushing touchdowns this season. Estrada is the workhorse, with the senior back carrying 109 times so far and Roshon, the senior QB, next in line with 43 carries.  Estrada picks up 6.35 yards per carry and Roshon averages 6.23 yards.

The game tonight is at Mountain View, which might be worth a touchdown.  But that’s probably not going to be enough to keep Salpointe from notching its sixth win.