Ricardo Alaniz

Santa Cruz Valley defensive back Ricardo Alaniz takes down Thatcher running back Bretton Dodge on Friday in Eloy. Santa Cruz beat the three-time defending state champions 21-14.

1. Casa Grande Union (3-2, Last week: No. 1)

The Cougars had a bye last week and play intracity rival Vista Grande (0-6) on Friday.

2. Coolidge (5-1, Last week: No. 2)

Playing a cupcake opponent like Tucson Catalina (0-5), Coolidge did what it was supposed to do and destroyed the Trojans 53-0. QB Valentine Rodriguez was a perfect 11-for-11 passing for 132 yards and two TDs. Greg Rodriguez and Comar Jeffries each had two rushing scores, and the defense forced three turnovers, including two fumble recoveries by LB Malachi Rodriguez.

3. Santa Cruz Valley (4-1, Last week: No. 4)

Friday felt like medieval times because Santa Cruz slayed a dragon, and that dragon’s name was Thatcher (3-2). The Dust Devils defeated the three-time defending state champions 21-14. Santa Cruz RB Hunter Ogle didn’t break any big runs, but he was a workhorse, totaling 89 yards and two TDs on 23 carries. The Dust Devils beat the Eagles for the first time under coach Rishard Davis, and exacted some revenge for playoff defeats to Thatcher in 2016 and 2017.

4. Maricopa (3-2, Last week: No. 3)

Any momentum the Rams built with a good second half the previous week against Phoenix Central (0-6) did not transfer Friday in a major step up in class against Gilbert Higley (4-2). The Knights piled up 508 total yards (254 pass, 254 rush) in a 59-0 win. Junior QB Kai Millner completed 10 of 18 passes for 254 yards and three TDs. The Higley defense registered 12 tackles for a loss.

5. Poston Butte (3-2, Last week: No. 2)

Poston Butte is coming off a bye and will host Peoria (4-1) on Friday.

6. Combs (2-3, Last week: No. 7)

It was all fun and games for Combs on Friday, at least in the second half. The Coyotes led 14-0 at the half but ran away with a 52-12 win over Vista Grande (0-6). Combs utilized onside kicks, a double pass, a hook-and-ladder play and defensive lineman Brodee Tucker running the ball for a TD to befuddle and overwhelm the Spartans. Combs QB Tre Buck threw for 296 yards and two TDs, and RB Joey Jensen had 147 yards and two TDs on just five carries.

7. Apache Junction (3-2, Last week: No. 8)

The bye week helped Apache Junction heal its banged-up roster, and the Prospectors blew out Phoenix Shadow Mountain (1-4) 50-21. Gibson Limongello threw for 238 yards, ran for 79 yards and had three total TDs (one rush). Jordan Morris caught three passes for 104 yards and a score, and the Apache Junction defense had six sacks, including two each from LB Ethan LaBrue and DL Ethan Wright.

8. Florence (1-4, Last week, No. 6)

After two straight fourth-quarter collapses led to consecutive one-point losses, the wheels came off for Florence in a 40-0 loss on the road in Safford. The Bulldogs (3-2) had a one-dimensional attack on offense, but it was all they needed. They ran for 319 of their 340 total yards, including 105 yards and three scores on just five carries from Samuel Tobias, who also caught a 20-yard TD.

9. San Tan Foothills (1-4, Last week: No. 9)

A second win on the season was incredibly close for the Sabercats, but a failed two-point conversion late in the fourth quarter left them with a 28-26 loss to Sahuarita (3-2). San Tan Foothills could not get its star RB Amahri Bailey going, as he was bottled up for 40 yards and a TD on 22 carries. The Sabercats managed just 131 total yards. Cutter Kuhl and Seth Walsh each intercepted a pass for the Foothills defense.

10. Vista Grande (0-6, Last week: No. 10)

Moving the ball was not a problem for the Vista Grande offense in the first half, but red zone woes continued in a 52-12 loss at Combs (2-3). The Spartans were stopped twice inside the 5 in the first half and trailed 14-0 at the half. Defensive breakdowns led to Combs outscoring Vista Grande 28-0 in the third quarter. Spartans QB Donald Altaffer completed 23 of 45 passes for 278 yards and a score, and WR Jace Atkins had a breakout game with 11 catches for 151 yards.

11. ALA-Ironwood (0-6, Last week: No. 11)

The first win of the season continues to elude American Leadership Academy-Ironwood. The Warriors trailed just 14-8 at halftime to Gilbert Christian (4-2), but the game got away in the third quarter, as it was outscored 13-0 en route to a 33-14 loss. Brody Curtner ran for 210 yards and three TDs for Gilbert Christian.

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