The Scottsdale Chaparral football team was already an underdog. Now this.
Quarterback Casey Lytle has a broken bone in his throwing arm and is doubtful to play that position Friday in the 4A Division I semifinals against top-seeded Tucson Sabino.
If he can't go, backup quarterback Rob Stopler will assume the duties.
"He's not a Casey Lytle, but he can do his job," Chaparral coach Ron Estabrook said of Stopler.
Lytle was hurt while making a tackle on defense late in the third quarter of the Firebirds' win over Vail Cienega. Stopler took over and engineered two fourth-quarter touchdown drives.
"I've been ready all season," Stopler said. "I've always known that I'm one play away from playing."
Although Lytle likely won't play quarterback, he is slated to start the game at cornerback and will likely play somewhere on offense.
"He's that kind of kid," Estabrook said. "He wants to do it all. If he could throw it, run down the field and catch the ball, he would."
TV/radio for the week: The 4A-II and 5A-II state championship games Friday will be telecast live on Cox Ch. 7 at 1 p.m. and 5 p.m., respectively. Those games also will be broadcast on KDUS (1060 AM).
The 5A-I and 4A-I football semifinals will not be televised, but the Chandler vs. Mesa Mountain View 5A-I semifinal will be on KDUS.
Xavier hires coach: Just when Bobby Pena thought he was out of coaching, Phoenix Xavier pulled him back in.
Three years removed from full-time coaching duties, Pena was hired last week to run the softball program.
Pena, 53, won four amateur baseball World Series titles and played with a few major league teams, but spent 21 years coaching softball club teams throughout Arizona.
He's also worked with Triple Crown Sports as an instructor for club teams in the Valley.
"There's a ton of talent out there in pitching and hitting," he said of Xavier. "They have the potential to make the playoffs. They have a chance more than people may think. It's my job to bring it out."
Repeat performance: The preseason top-ranked teams in boys and girls prep basketball begin their seasons tonight with some pretty good competition awaiting them.
Mesa Mountain View, the No. 1 boys team in 5A Division I, is home against Chandler Hamilton. Mesa Red Mountain, currently the No. 1 girls team, visits defending 5A-I champ Phoenix St. Mary's. Both games begin at 7 p.m. Red Mountain is led by Stanford signee Kayla Pedersen and Bonnie Barbee, a point guard headed to Colorado State.
Mountain View's boys also play Thursday at home in an interesting matchup vs. St. Mary's. That game features four players who signed with Division I schools earlier this month. St. Mary's Jerryd Bayless signed with Arizona. Mountain View had a trio sign — Harper Kamp (California), Kendall Wallace (UNLV) and Justin Wesolowski (Northern Colorado).
Thankful Toros: For the second year in a row, Mountain View won the Highland Thanksgiving tournament, running the table for a 6-0 start.
Coach Henry Bribiescas has several players from last year's squad, but many are healthy this year compared to last. Leading the way is Brooke Jackson, who for the second straight year was named tournament MVP.
The play of center Katy Clark, who missed last season with a knee injury, and the addition of freshman point guard Jennifer Schlott were evident in this year's quick getaway.
‘‘Katy was a very pleasant surprise,’’ Bribiescas said. ‘‘She gives us an inside presence we didn't have last year. In the tournament she had four double-doubles.’’
Bribiescas said Schlott has taken pressure off Jackson, who had to score and handle the ball much more last season when four players went down at one time or another with knee injuries.
Thunderous start: Phoenix Desert Vista's boys basketball team won three home games, then journeyed to Tucson to win two more and take the championship of the Salpointe Tip-Off Classic Saturday.
Garrett Lever poured in 36 points in the title game as the Thunder drubbed Salpointe, 74-49.
Staff writers Les Willsey and Mark Heller contributed to this report.