A pair of Central Division teams, Payson and Cave Creek Cactus Shadows, are alive and well in the final four of the 1998 Class 3A Arizona State football tournament.
Today, Friday, at 5 p.m. on the campus of Mesa College, Payson will take on South representative Safford in a semi-final clash.
The other semi-final game, to be played at 8 p.m., will pit four-time defending state champion Blue Ridge of the East Division against Cactus Shadows.
The winners of the semi-final clashes will meet at 7 p.m. Nov. 28 in Mesa for the state championship.
Payson advanced to the final four with a 22-14 victory over Show Low Nov. 14. Safford earned the semi-final berth with a 34-7 win over Parker.
Cactus, the Central's third seed, advanced in the tournament with a 34-6 quarterfinal win over Ganado.
Blue Ridge had to come from behind and then fend off a late rally to whip Coolidge 19-16. Coolidge entered the tournament as the Central Division runner-up.
The tournament began Oct. 30 with 16 of the state's best 3A teams.