Division III semifinals outlooks - East Valley Tribune: VarsityXtra

Division III semifinals outlooks

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Posted: Thursday, November 17, 2011 6:07 pm

No. 1 Sabino vs. No. 5 Saguaro

When: 7 p.m. Saturday

Where: Salpointe High School (1545 East Copper St., Tucson)

Records: Sabino 11-1; Saguaro 10-2

Players to Watch: Saguaro: RB D.J. Foster (174 carries, 2,546 yards, 50 TD); QB Luke Rubenzer (103-of-141, 2,245 yards, 26 TD, 3 INT); WR Vince Silva (17 rec., 501 yards, 4 TD); WR Christian Kirk (28 rec., 465 yards, 5 TD).

Sabino: QB Dallas Brown (73-of-121, 1,394 yards, 19 TD, 4 INT; 107 carries, 1,083 yards, 15 TD); RB Cody Lloyd (109 carries, 707 yards, 11 TD); WR Matt Harshman (12 rec., 290 yards, 3 TD).

Outlook: Sabino is the favorite in seed and location only. Saguaro has dominated any and all comers in Division III this year, including Phoenix Thunderbird, the team that just took Sabino to overtime in the quarterfinals. Saguaro has the Player of the Year front-runner in running back D.J. Foster and an offense that is averaging 60.6 points per game when you take away a contest against Chaparral when the team's starters rested. Sabino's defense is giving up only 5.9 points per game, but many of those games have been against very light competition. Sabino did play Vail Cienega tough in the season opener, but before last week's win over the Chiefs, had not played anyone else of substance. Saguaro's defense has not been great this season, and Sabino will need to take advantage of all defensive lapses because no one has slowed down Saguaro's offense down yet.

 

No. 3 Cactus vs. No. 7 Arcadia

When: 7 p.m. Saturday

Where: North Canyon High School (1700 East Union Hills Drive, Phoenix)

Records: Cactus 10-1; Arcadia 10-2

Players to Watch: Arcadia: RB Sosaia Maafu (226 carries, 1,715 yards, 29 TD); QB Cole Richardson (101-179, 1,354 yards, 11 TD, 8 INT); LB Andrew Bradway (81 tackles, 3 sacks); DL Drake Bennetch (63 tackles, 3 sacks).

Cactus: QB Michael Putko (97-161, 1,509 yards, 14 TD, 6 INT; 192 carries, 1,169 yards, 23 TD); RB Josh Aguirre (143 carries, 1,026 yards, 8 TD); WR Jacob Schaefer (26 rec., 448 yards, 4 TD); LB Guy Williams (90 tackles, 3 sacks); DB Kameel Al Khouri (82 tackles, 4 INT); DL Seth DeAlejandro (46 tackles, 9 sacks).

Outlook: Cactus was beaten soundly by Saguaro earlier this year, but is perfect outside of that. The Cobras have wins over Thunderbird, Liberty and Peoria, so they are battle-tested. Quarterback Michael Putko makes the team go, and he will certainly be the center of attention for the Arcadia defense. The Titans really a ton on running back Sosaia Maafu, so if he can't get going, it will spell trouble for Arcadia. Cactus is a traditional power and is used to getting deep into the postseason. Arcadia has been solid, but has not been this far in quite some time. Maafu will need a big game if the Titans want to continue their magical ride into the Division III state title game.

 

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