Scottsdale Saguaro has used gadget plays regularly in its march to two straight state football titles and this year’s finals berth.
A favorite has always been end-around, wide receiver passes. Erik Brown (two) and Max Smith (one) have each completed touchdown passes on the play this year.
Scottsdale Chaparral has not tried as many trick plays but completed a flea flicker that led to a touchdown against Tucson Canyon del Oro in the semifinals.
Both teams don’t need many gimmicks during the regular season because they have better personnel, but this deep into the postseason they can be useful.
“You’ve always got to have a couple wrinkles up your sleeve,” Chaparral coach Charlie Ragle said.
This is Ragle’s first title game in his second season as coach at Chaparral.
Predecessor Ron Estabrook called and congratulated Ragle on breaking the streak of Chaparral’s three straight semifinal appearances without making the title game.
Estabrook coached the first two of those teams.
“I quickly reminded him he was 3-0 in championship games, and that this was my first,” Ragle said. “I don’t think he needed any reminding of that.”
University of Nebraska coach Bo Pelini was on Scottsdale Saguaro’s campus Tuesday, making his pitch to defensive tackle Corey Adams. Adams is expected to choose between Arizona State, Nebraska, Southern California and Ohio State on Jan. 4 at the Under Armour All-America game.
Chaparral offensive tackle Taylor Lewan could see his number of scholarship offers jump very soon. Lewan said Alabama, Florida and Ohio State will likely be offering after another highly regarded offensive tackle makes his college commitment.
Lewan and defensive end Craig Roh will also play in the Under Armour All-America game.
GATORADE PLAYER OF YEAR
Roh was named the 2008-09 Gatorade Arizona Football Player of the Year. Roh, who had 119 tackles and 14.5 sacks at the time of his selection, will attend Michigan next fall.
No. 1 Saguaro (13-0) vs. No. 2 Chaparral (12-1)
When: 3 p.m. Saturday
Where: Sun Devil Stadium
TV: Cox Ch. 7
Radio: KDUS (1060 AM)
Video Web cast: www.aia365.com
Tickets: Available at Sun Devil Stadium box office. $8 adults, $6 students with ID
Key matchup: After Saguaro shut down Chaparral’s offense in October, the Firebirds made a concerted effort to run the ball more. Running back Dwayne Garrett has turned into a star, but Saguaro’s defense is still the best in 4A-I. Can Chaparral stick with its plan and get positive returns from its ground game?