Pedersen Prep Football Preview

Word came down earlier this week that the Arizona Interscholastic Association was looking to host the Division II and III state title games at Arizona Stadium on Nov. 29-30. This, after apparently JUST REALIZING Sun Devil Stadium in Tempe wasn't going to be available because of some little thing called the Duel in the Desert.

So, instead of the vast majority of the Tucson area's prep football teams battling for a chance to make a long bus ride and play in front of mostly their opponents' fans, the chance is now there to get to win a championship right here in town.

And Tucson's best shot for a champion (at least at the Division II level) might be getting a preview of who they'd face in that title game tonight.

Salpointe Catholic (4-0), which has absolutely demolished its opponents by a combined score of 190-21, hosts Tempe Marcos de Niza (4-0) at 7 p.m. in a game that should have a sizable crowd full of both fans and college scouts.

Marcos de Niza, considered among the best Division II clubs in Phoenix, is averaging more than 53 points per game — but also allowing 42.5 per game. The Padres beat Sierra Vista Buena 78-57 in an up-tempo basketball game two weeks ago.

Salpointe players celebrate following a win earlier this month over California school Crespi
  • Salpointe Catholic Facebook page
  • Salpointe players celebrate following a win earlier this month over California school Crespi

The Salpointe-Marcos game is one of several Tucson vs. Phoenix clashes on what for most schools is the final week before sectional play, games that have taken on extra importance this year now that each section is guaranteed its winner getting into the playoffs.

Other notable games:

Division II

* Mesa (3-1) at Tucson High (3-1): THS is an offensive force, winning games by an average score of 43-23. The visiting Jackrabbits, however, have allowed just 35 points all season.

* Florence Poston Butte (3-2) at Mountain View (2-2): Poston Butte is looking to pull off the rare Marana sweep, having beaten Marana 32-29 two weeks ago. Mountain View has dropped its last two against Phoenix-area schools after opening 2-0 against Marana and Cienega.

Division III

* Sabino (2-2) at Flagstaff (2-2): This game, which will be played in Northern Arizona University's Walkup Skydome, is a family reunion of sorts. Sabino is coached by Jay Campos, son of Flagstaff coach Eddie Campos.

Division IV

* Palo Verde (4-0) at Coolidge (4-0): PV is one of just three unbeaten teams left in Southern Arizona (along with Salpointe and Benson), but none of the Titans' previous opponents are anywhere near as good as the Bears. Coolidge has traditionally been one of the top small school powers in the state and are almost impossible to beat at home.