4A Playoff Previews

The Final Four in 4A

4A Previews


Centennial vs Moon Valley @ GCC

This is the most highly anticipated game of the 4A season thus far.  Many people say that with Sunnyside losing last week, the winner of this match up will go into championship Saturday as the favorite to win the state title.  One thing is for sure, the stars will be out in full force Friday night, both of these teams feature sure fire division 1 kids, both feature guys who can take it to the house every time they touch it and both teams feature really underrated defenses.  While Centennials offense gets most of the accolades, it's their defense that has really led the charge this season giving up only 91 points in 12 games.  Do the math folk that's less than 10 points a game against a really tough schedule.  Defensively the Coyotes are led by all-state defensive lineman Tanner Highlen, who comes into the game with 96 tackles and 5 sacks.  Linebacker Ryan Coulter leads the team with 122 total tackles, while Tim House and Matt Keith lead the secondary with 5 and 4 picks respectively.  For Moon Valley again, their high flying offensive attack led by Brian Writson gets all the pub, but their defense has also given their offense great field position all season long giving up only 141 points on the year.  The Rockets defense is led by linebackers Matt Hain and Andrew Forrest, who both have over 100 tackles on the season, DE Isaiah Smart has gotten to the quarterback 17 that's right 17 times this season.  Offensively, simply put, these teams have been the highest scoring teams in 4A this season, Moon Valley has scored 644 points on the season compared to Centennial's 611.  College scouts will undoubtedly be at this game to see dynamic playmakers like, Chris McGaha, Matt Keith, Tim House, Tsar Johnson not to mention two of the best quarterbacks Arizona has to offer in Brian Wriston and Joe Caskey.  Key to the game, like any game whether high school, college or in the NFL, games are won and lost in the trenches.  Centennial's big strong line has to get after Moon Valley's quick aggressive defensive line and try to establish the run game, which will open up the play actions series for Caskey, Keith and TE Junior Hackworth.  Moon Valley's offensive line is going to have to step up to the plate to handle Highlen and company to give Wriston the time he needs to find McGaha, Johnson and friends.  This has the makings of being a game for the ages.

Tale of the Tape                                                    Playoffs

Moon Valley may have silenced some critics               Beat Sabino 47-12

Last week by beating a very good Flagstaff               Beat Flagstaff 63-7

Team rather handedly


Centennial has been in big game after big game    Beat McClintock 49-7

This season, playing against teams like Cactus, Beat Chaparral 30-0

And Chaparral twice, will that prove to be the



Cactus vs. Saguaro @ Apollo H.S.

Both of these teams must feel like the late Rodney Dangerfield, because they get no respect.  All these teams have done is go a combined 22-2 on the season playing against very good teams week in and week out.  They haven't won games pretty, but a win, is a win, is a win and the only thing that matters is both are only one game away from playing for the whole thing.  Saguaro only loss of the season was to the Cactus Cobras on the 1st game of the season, since then they have won 11 in a row and have beaten some highly regarded teams like Millennium, Chaparral, Amphitheater and Sunnyside.  The only blemish Cactus has on their schedule is a loss to the top team in 4A, Centennial, their quality wins are over teams like, Saguaro, Millennium, Cienega and Prescott.  To say that these teams have no shot against the winner of Centennial and Moon Valley is crazy.   Cactus comes at you with all of their formations and from a ton of different angles, led this year by quarterback Jonathon Tobin, running back Richard Morris and wide out Jordan Flores the Cobras have some playmakers who can do a few things with the rock in their hands.  Saguaro counter with some player of their own in quarterback John Sanders, running back Tyler Porras and wide out John Casale, who will try and get the Sabercats into the zone.  Both of teams feature running games that must be dealt with, Sagauro's Porras has went over 1200 yards on the year, with above average speed, he can take it a long way.  Cactus counter with Morris who is a tuff hard nosed type of a runner who would rather truck you than juke you, he had topped the 1000-yard mark this season.  Defensively, both teams feature very underrated linebackers in Richard Bloom from Saguaro and Ladarius Howard from Cactus.  Both these young men lead their respective teams in tackles and are a real force to be reckoned with.  Key to the game, Mr. Momentum seems to be on the side of the Sabercats who have reeled off 11 straight including the shocker of the 4A season last week by upsetting Sunnyside.  Saguaro will probably try and use the run game to keep the always dangerous Cactus offense on the sideline.  Once again look for play in the trenches to play a big part in the outcome.

Tale of the Tape                                                    Playoffs

Saguaro will try and avenge their only loss                Beat Amphitheater 35-10

Of the season, can they not overlook this Cactus  Beat Sunnyside 6-0

Team after a big win last week and only one week

Away from ASU?


Cactus has won games this year in all sorts of             Beat Millennium 27-14

Fashion, but there is no style points in football just            Beat Cienega 29-7

Bottom lines, the Cobras are one win away from a

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