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Sean Morin will pick up where Roy Lopez left off.
All-Tribune First Team Offense
All-Tribune First Team Offense
Perhaps this is going to outdate thyself. It’s easy to live in the past and remember the olden days.
Marcos de Niza quarterback Josh Eckley runs the ball against Chaparral on Friday November 15, 2013. [Clayton Klapper/ Special to Tribune]
Chaparral receiver Tyler Whiley embraces Marcos de Niza quarterback Josh Eckley after their game on Friday November 15, 2013. [Clayton Klapper/ Special to Tribune]
Marcos de Niza quarterback Josh Eckley scrambles to get off a pass against Chaparral on Friday November 15, 2013. [Clayton Klapper/ Special to Tribune]
ChapparalÕs defense sacks Marcos de Niza quarterback Josh Eckley on Friday November 15, 2013. [Clayton Klapper/ Special to Tribune]
Marcos de Niza quarterback Josh Eckley dives for the end zone against Chaparral on Friday November 15, 2013. [Clayton Klapper/ Special to Tribune]
The team went 7-5. He sometimes held the ball too long in hopes of trying to make another circus play. He threw 12 interceptions, blah, blah, blah. Statistics are half of this story: 61 percent completions, 2,678 yards, 32 touchdowns and 12 INT; 767 yards rushing and 15 touchdowns. Pretty good. Now picture Marcos de Niza making the playoffs without Eckley, and, consequently, imagine the Padres if he didn’t play on one ankle for several weeks during the season. At 6-foot-2, 187 pounds, he still didn’t reportedly have a single college offer, but even more hard to believe would be that not changing real soon.
Chaparral may have racked up 421 yards of total offense, but the real story came on the defensive side of the ball for the No. 3 Firebirds, recording eight sacks in a 35-21 victory over No. 6 Marcos de Niza in the quarterfinals of the Division II playoffs Friday night.
These matchups are inevitable. Whether sooner or later, a second helping is almost always required for a football team to play on.
Marcos de Niza took down Tucson Ironwood Ridge, 28-16, in the first round of the Division II playoffs on Friday night, thanks to a strong second half and a stellar performance once again from quarterback Josh Eckley.
Well, that was interesting.
Nine weeks after several guys cried in the end zone after a Week 1 loss to Chaparral, the Saguaro football team is not on any Division III team's postseason "wish list."
Won or done?
Despite another strong night by quarterback Josh Eckley, Marcos de Niza was unable to keep up with Mesquite as the Wildcats continued their turnaround season with a 47-28 win on Friday.
Marcos de Niza quarterback Josh Eckley is clearly the most valuable player for the Padres, and the senior proved his worth again Friday night.
Football is — among so many things — a game of attrition, which explains why many schools struggle either suddenly or gradually. That’s happening everywhere around East Valley football programs these days, seemingly with more frequency than ever (at least it feels that way).
Mesquite’s been one of the biggest surprises of 2013, as a convincing win over Poston Butte on Friday night improved its record to 7-1 on the season. The Wildcats will get their toughest task since Week 2 against Williams Field in this showdown against Marcos de Niza. Salpointe, Chaparral and Centennial are the clear class of Division II, but the winner of this game can make a claim to be right behind them on the second tier. Marcos de Niza has been one of the most unpredictable teams in the state, beating Horizon and Chaparral early on while losing to Campo Verde and struggling to put away Buena and Cesar Chavez. Padres quarterback Josh Eckley will be the most dynamic player on the field, and his performance could sway the outcome.
Prediction: Marcos de Niza 31, Mesquite 28
-- Kyle Odegard
Bailey Anderson, Gilbert Christian: 551 yards, 10 TD...
Tyler Bloom, Higley: 315 yards, 5 TD...
Zach Werlinger, Basha (pictured): 304 yards, 2 TD, 2 rush TD...
John Clark, Mountain View: 294 yards, TD...
Nick Smith, Scottsdale Prep: 264 yards, 5 TD...
Josh Eckley, Marcos de Niza: 263 yards, 5 TD...
Luke Rubenzer, Saguaro: 261 yards, 2 TD...
Kyle Johnson, Seton Catholic: 228 yards, 3 TD...
Payton Haslam, Mesquite: 214 yards, 2 TD...
Caleb Murray-Thomas, Red Mountain: 211 yards, 2 TD...
Daniel Bridge-Gadd, Paradise Valley: 191 yards, 4 TD...
Blake Young, Highland: 185 yards, TD...
Kyle Allen, Desert Mountain: 183 yards, 3 TD
Brandon Haagsma, Valley Christian: 126 yards, 4 TD...
Levi Sterling, Hamilton (pictured): 45-yard INT return for TD
Richard Haywood, Desert Vista: 75-yard KO return for TD
Sean Eremia, Desert Ridge: 2 INT
Luke Pineda, Campo Verde: 2 TD passes, 3 rush TD
Josh Eckley, Marcos de Niza: 154 yards passing, TD, 2 rush TD
Taren Morrison, Desert Ridge: 70 yards rushing, 72 yards rec., 2 TD
Brock Westover, Mountain View: 64 yards rushing, 84 yards rec., 2 TD
Noah Miller, Highland: GW 27-yard FG
J.T. Nettleton, Saguaro: 3 TD rec., 2 INT
Darius Williams, Williams Field: 88-yard INT return
Mountain Pointe defense: School-record 4th shutout of season
Logan Johns, Higley: 4 tackles for loss, sack
Antonio Marchica, Cactus Shadows: 3 TD runs
Ironwood Ridge at Marcos de Niza: Which way will the Padres go? Having essentially lost coach Roy Lopez for this week (the future is still unknown), the Padres could go crazy and wipe the floor with the rest of Division II. Or they could fold the tents given the magnitude of what’s gone on around the program this week. Beyond the subplots, this will be the third meeting between the schools in the past two years, with Ironwood Ridge winning the regular season and playoff matchups last year. This, however, is a vastly different IR squad, and a recent three-game losing streak has the Div. II defending champions looking vulnerable. Josh Eckley has been close to his old self running and passing the ball since returning from an ankle injury, and while it’ll never fully heal, the things he did in the second half against Saguaro last week are hard to defend. Ironwood Ridge has come to Tempe and won before, but Marcos’ offense is playing well, Ironwood Ridge isn’t quite the same as the 2012 version (watch out in 2014, however), and the extra elements of distraction and emotions with the Lopez situation will be channeled in the Padres’ favor.
Prediction: Marcos de Niza 35, Ironwood Ridge 27
Emanuel Gant, Tempe: 422 yards, 4 TD
Brian Lewerke, Pinnacle: 384 yards, 5 TD
Josh Eckley, Marcos de Niza: 373 yards, 2 TD; 86 yards rushing; 2 TD
Daniel Bridge-Gadd, Paradise Valley: 367 yards, 5 TD
Chandler Fox, Chaparral: 333 yards, 3 TD
Kyle Allen, Desert Mountain: 296 yards, 4 TD
Luke Pineda, Campo Verde (pictured): 280 yards, 4 TD, TD rush
Dalton Sneed, Horizon: 260 yards, 5 TD
Russell Corriveau, Poston Butte: 243 yards, TD
John Clark, Mountain View: 242 yards, 2 TD
Brandon Haagsma, Valley Christian: 241 yards, 3 TD
Brian Woodward, Brophy: 234 yards, 4 TD
Kyle Johnson, Seton Catholic: 218 yards, 5 TD
Payton Haslam, Mesquite: 155 yards, 3 TD