High school football
Blue Devils, Badgers collide Friday with chance of another classic
Sunnyside and Tucson High have provided some of the city’s most memorable games over the last two years.
You can expect more of the same when they meet on Friday night.
Tucson High hosts the rival Blue Devils for a homecoming showdown this week, with a chance to snap a two-game skid and stay alive in the hunt for the 6A state playoffs. Meanwhile, Sunnyside hopes to get back on the winning track after losing three straight games.
Senior quarterback Jorge Flores and the Badgers held on for a 27-20 overtime victory at Sunnyside last year, on the final night of the season. In 2014, it was the Blue Devils who prevailed in a wild triple-overtime game.
Tucson High has won three of the last four meetings in the series but Sunnyside dominated for a stretch prior to that, winning 10 straight from 1995 through 2010.
Here’s a look at five other local matchups to watch on Friday night, with the postseason just weeks away.
Amphitheater (4-2) at Douglas (4-2)
These two teams are locked up in the statewide 4A rankings and sitting right behind Pueblo in the chase for the region title.
Twentieth-ranked Douglas opened 4A Gila play with a 41-22 win against Palo Verde last week but has a pair of tough games coming up after facing No. 21 Amphi on Friday night. The Bulldogs travel to play at Pueblo and then host 3A heavyweight Sabino the following week.
Amphi, which has won back-to-back games, hosts Pueblo on the final night of the season so a win on Friday night could set the stage for that game to decide the regional champion.
Desert View (6-0) at Mountain View (4-2)
Unbeaten Desert View has already secured its first winning season since 2000 but now the Jaguars are out to prove that they’re the real deal. Beating a team like Mountain View would do just that, and it might even secure the program’s first state playoff berth since 1996.
Mountain View, ranked 13th in 5A, had won four straight games before losing at Ironwood Ridge last week. A win against No. 6 Desert View could get the Mountain Lions back on track and keep them in the postseason hunt.
Pueblo (4-2) at Canyon del Oro (3-3)
Back-to-back losses have 14th-ranked Canyon del Oro on the verge of falling out of the 4A postseason picture but a win against No. 22 Pueblo this week can get the Dorados back on track.
As the front-runner in the 4A Gila region, Pueblo doesn’t need to be concerned about its overall ranking but a win would only help as the Warriors try to move closer to qualifying for the state playoffs for the second straight season.
Pusch Ridge Christian (4-2) at Sabino (5-1)
Friday’s winner of this game will almost certainly win the 3A South title but don’t be surprised if the loser also ends up in the state playoffs.
This is an interesting matchup because it lines up the defending state champions against a Sabino team poised for a deep postseason run. Perhaps the two meet up again next month, in a win-or-go-home clash?
Pusch Ridge enters the game ranked 10th in 3A, five spots behind Sabino, which hasn’t lost to an in-state team this season.
Sahuaro (2-4) at Cienega (6-0)
Records are meaningless anytime it’s a rivalry game and that’s exactly the case here.
Sahuaro is a dangerous team that has won two in a row since opening the season with four straight losses.
Cienega dealt with similar tough times last year, losing six of its first seven games and falling to the Cougars for the first time. But the Bobcats have since won nine straight and are sitting comfortably at No. 2 in 5A.
If Sahuaro is looking for a big upset to restore order, this is it.