Best Local High School Team

Amphi Football

READERS' PICK: Nothing epitomizes Tucson prep sports like the undersized, undermanned and overachieving Panthers of Amphi High. Coach Vern Friedli is in his 25th year at the midtown school and his squad is favored to win the 20th conference crown of his tenure. While monster-sized Phoenix schools boast enrollments of 3,500 or more (Mesa Mountain View has 4,000 students in three grades!), Amphi rarely tops 1,900 students and yet manages to remain competitive on a statewide level. During Friedli's quarter-century at Amphi, the Panthers had a string of 18 straight trips to the state playoffs, was the last Tucson team to win a Class 5A state title, has had only two losing seasons, has had several players go on to college ball and the NFL, and even had an Olympic track medal winner. The bullies up the Interstate have a tendency to believe that real sports aren't played outside of Maricopa County. But as long as Friedli's at Amphi, Tucson sports will be on the map.