November 20, 2004

The East Valley will fill its customary spot in the 5A state championship game on Dec. 5. And surprising Saguaro may well wind up playing for the 4A title on the same day.

Highland and Hamilton advanced to meet in next week’s 5A semifinals, assuring that — for the 13th straight year — an East Valley school will play for the title.

Hamilton had no trouble against Tucson Salpointe, rolling to a 42-21 win in its bid for a second straight title.

But there will be no repeat champion in 4A, thanks to Saguaro’s gritty 6-0 road win over defending champion Tucson Sunnyside.

The Sabercats have won 11 straight after a season-opening loss and will play at Glendale Cactus, the state runner-up a year ago, in next week’s semifinals. Chaparral, however, fell to top-seeded Peoria Centennial, 30-0. Centennial plays Phoenix Moon Valley in the other 4A semifinal.

In 5A, the quarterfinals were not kind to Mesa’s entries. Mountain View, the state runner-up last year, lost to upstart Glendale Mountain Ridge, the 16th seed, 29-26, while Red Mountain fell to Phoenix Brophy, 24-0. Mountain Ridge’s surprise run to the semifinals includes a win over top-seeded Paradise Valley in the opening round, followed by the win over the ninth-seeded Toros. Mountain Ridge will take on fifth-seeded Brophy in the other semifinal next week.

Once-beaten Hamilton’s path to the title game is blocked by Highland, which snapped the Huskies’ 20-game winning streak in the regular season with a stunning 37-15 win on Oct. 22.

For the second straight week, Highland went on the road and rallied from a halftime deficit. Friday, the Hawks scored in the final minutes to beat Corona del Sol, 21-17.

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