1. Casa Grande Union (4-2, Last week: No. 1)
It may not be the rivalry the community wants it to be, but it’s a fun atmosphere when CG Union plays Vista Grande (0-7). Friday’s game was much more fun for the Cougars, who rolled the Spartans 56-7. Angel Flores was sharp at quarterback, throwing for 288 yards and 3 TDs, and he also ran for a 37-yard score. He hit on deep balls to Cole Auza (55 yards) and Darrell Penn (56 yards) for scores DJ Johnson also had three rushing TDs for the Cougars. The CG Union defense held Vista Grande to minus-5 rushing yards and 157 total yards.
2. Coolidge (6-1, Last week: No. 2)
The biggest rivalry in Pinal County is without a doubt Coolidge and Florence. The Bears snapped a four-game losing streak to the Gophers (1-5) on Friday with a 34-21 win. While the total yardage was similar for each team, it was the Coolidge running game that made the difference offensively. The Bears were led by QB Valentine Rodriguez (106 yards, 2 TDs) and RB Greg Rodriguez (166 yards, 2 TDs). The Coolidge defense forced three turnovers and had three sacks, including a pair from CJ Valencia.
3. Poston Butte (3-3, Last week: No. 5)
How does Poston Butte lose a game and move up two spots? The Broncos were impressive in a 27-26 loss to a good Peoria (5-1) team, while the teams ranked ahead of them suffered blowout losses. Poston Butte had monster rushing performances from Nick Cocomello (8 rush, 110 yards, 3 TDs) and Khalil Cooper (6 rush, 99 yards, TD), even though star running back Zion Burns (37 yards) never got going. The lack of a passing game hurt the Broncos, as QB Gavin Lloyd was just 2-of-6 for 17 yards, but he was effective running the ball with 83 yards.
4. Santa Cruz Valley (5-2, Last week: No. 3)
After a huge program win over Thatcher the previous week, Santa Cruz Valley went on the road and got walloped 42-18 by Phoenix Christian (6-1). A normally stout Dust Devils defense was gashed for 588 total yards, including 401 on the ground. Another scary sight for Santa Cruz was QB Austin Hukill leaving the game with an injury. RB Hunter Ogle continued his strong season with 166 rushing yards, and Arik Padilla had 43 rushing yards and two scores.
5. Maricopa (3-4, Last week: No. 4)
Maricopa coach Brandon Harris was clearly frustrated after his team suffered yet another lopsided defeat, this time a 43-9 loss to Gilbert Campo Verde (7-0), ranked No. 3 in the 5A power points. QB Daxton Redfern was intercepted twice and sacked five times, and Maricopa’s leading rusher was Tylek Mooney, who had just 44 yards but did score on a 25-yard run in the first quarter. Campo Verde had just 286 total yards but made the most of its opportunities.
6. Combs (3-3, Last week: No. 6)
The Coyotes put up 50-plus points for the second consecutive game, as the offense scorched El Mirage Dysart (0-7) for 640 yards in a 55-14 win. Tre Buck had a career day, completing 20 of 27 passes for 395 yards and five TDs with no interceptions. RB Joey Jensen toted the rock 16 times for 110 yards and a score, and added 87 yards receiving and TD catch. Tanner Price led all receivers with 140 yards and two TDs on four catches, and Deven Mock caught a pair of TDs.
7. Apache Junction (4-2, Last week: No. 7)
The Prospectors appear to be hitting their stride, as they stretched their winning streak to three games with a 38-0 victory over Phoenix Washington (3-4). Apache Junction finally had a good rushing performance from someone other than QB Gibson Limongello, as RB Ethan LaBrue had eight carries for 92 yards and a score. Limongello threw two touchdowns, but it was the defense that really shined with the shutout. The Prospectors had 12 tackles for a loss, led by Cody Arbogast (2.5 TFL) and Brody Bullard (2 TFL).
8. Florence (1-5, Last week, No. 8)
A four-game winning streak over archrival Coolidge was snapped, as the Gophers were defeated 34-21 by the Bears (6-1). Florence received another terrific performance from RB Joshua Maignan, who had 261 yards and two TDs before leaving the game with an apparent leg injury in the second half. But Maignan had no help from his teammates, other than an pick-six by Isaac Sandoval. QB Christopher Walter was intercepted once and lost two fumbles.
9. San Tan Foothills (2-4, Last week: No. 9)
Another big effort from RB Amahri Bailey led the Sabercats to a 44-27 win over American Leadership Academy-Ironwood. Bailey had 35 carries for 189 yards and four TDs, and QB Brett Lincoln had an efficient night, completing 12 of 15 throws for 141 yards with two TDs and a pick. On defense, Jacoby Wilson had two sacks, and San Tan Foothills picked off three passes.
10. Vista Grande (0-7, Last week: No. 10)
Hoping to manage the clock by running the ball, the Spartans were totally ineffective in a 56-7 loss to Casa Grande Union (4-2). Vista Grande finished the night with minus-5 rushing yards, which put the game on the shoulders of QB Donald Altaffer, but he faced a tough Cougars defense. He completed 17 of 30 passes for 162 yards with a TD and an interception on a ball that went off his receiver’s fingertips. The Spartans defense did not tackle well and had no success covering the Cougars’ receivers.
11. ALA-Ironwood (0-7, Last week: No. 11)
The first win will have to wait for American Leadership Academy-Ironwood, as it lost 44-27 to San Tan Foothills (2-4). It was a respectable effort for the Warriors, who scored in every quarter but could not stop the Sabercats on offense. ALA-Ironwood was victimized by RB Amahri Bailey for 189 rushing yards and four touchdowns. The Warriors have been outscored 301-93 this season.