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Tucson High nears first playoff spot in 2 decades

Citizen Staff Writer
TC Varsity




On Sept. 19, the Tucson High football team broke a two-and-a-half year, 25-game losing streak.

Friday night, with a 35-16 road win over Casa Grande, the Badgers in all likelihood clinched a Class 5A Division I state playoff spot, ending a 20-year postseason drought.

“We know we’re in a pretty good spot (for the playoffs),” said Vincent Smith, coach of the Badgers, who entered Friday’s game No. 13 in the state Power Rankings. “But we still have another (regular season) game to go. We play a great Salpointe team next week and we have to get ready for that game.”

Tucson High (5-4, 2-0 5A Southern-I) plays Salpointe in next Friday’s season finale for both teams. The winner will claim the 5A Southern-I Region championship and earns an automatic playoff bid, but both teams’ Power Ranking points are such that neither should have to worry about missing the postseason.

The state Power Ranking points, which determine the state’s 16 playoff teams in each classification and division, are updated throughout the weekend.

Tucson High quarterback Peter Borquez threw for 202 yards and three touchdowns and ran for another score in Friday’s win.

Smith, the 37-year-old third-year coach, has gone in six week’s time from trying to convince his team they were good enough to end its dreadful losing streak to having to remind his players Friday that they shouldn’t get so confident they don’t finish games strong.

“We were up 35-0 and then sort of let up and didn’t finish strong,” Smith said. “We let them get both their touchdowns in the second half. I had to tell them we need to be better than that.”

While Smith acknowledged he knew this year’s team was far better than most anticipated, he said possible postseason play were never really at the forefront of his thoughts.

“I just knew we weren’t looking for vanity wins,” Smith said. “It was good to end the streak, but that’s not where it’s supposed to stop. Then it was good to win again, but that’s not where we needed to stop. Same with tonight. I told them it was a good win, but we have to play again next week and play hard because I don’t want to be limping into the playoffs.”

Salpointe 59,

Sierra Vista Buena 21

Salpointe running back Christian Ramirez couldn’t be contained, rushing for 173 yards on 11 carries and scoring five touchdowns.

Senior quarterback Trevor Eggleston threw for 285 yards and two touchdowns while senior receiver Mike Descisciolo caught four passes for 137 yards, including a 59-yard touchdown reception in the second quarter.

The Lancers (8-1, 2-0) had 578 yards of total offense.

Cienega 42, Nogales 13

Cienega senior quarterback Seth Mejias-Brean went 15 for 20 throwing for 220 yards and two touchdowns.

Trent Simon was Mejias-Brean’s favorite target, catching seven passes for 105 yards and a touchdown. David Abeyta caught Mejias-Brean’s other touchdown in the second on a 37-yard strike.

Cienega improved to 7-2 overall and 4-0 in the 4A Kino Region. Nogales dropped to 5-4 overall and 1-3 in the region.

Catalina 39, Douglas 21

Catalina returned two kickoffs and a punt for touchdowns.

Catalina (4-5, 2-3 in 4A Gila Region) plays Santa Rita next week. Douglas (2-7, 1-4) closes out its season next week at Amphi.

Staff writer Raymond Suarez contributed to this article.

Tucson High wins, nears first playoff spot in 20 years

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