State Tourney Resumes, Sans Horns

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The 2010 3A Arizona State Football Championship tournament resumes tomorrow, Nov. 13, without the Payson Longhorns.

PHS was eliminated last week in the opening round by a 30-14 loss to the Round Valley Elks.

RV continues pursuit of the state title tomorrow at Desert Ridge High School against the Florence Gophers.

Although Florence took a No. 3 seed and a lofty 10-1 record into the tournament, PHS coach Byron Quinlan is predicting the 5-4 Elks will upset the Gophers.

He’s basing his hunch on the fact RV plays in the East Region, the most competitive in the 3A conference. Florence plays in the relatively weak South Region.

Also at Desert Ridge High School tomorrow, top-ranked and undefeated Blue Ridge plays No. 7 seeded Fountain Hills. The Falcons advanced with a 31-28 win over Wickenburg in the opening round.

In a power points system quirk, Blue Ridge took a No. 2 seed into the tournament despite an unblemished record (10-0) and having whipped No. 1 seeded Show Low during the regular season.

BR is almost everyone’s pick to win the 3A state title mostly because of a rich tradition and a talent-laden roster that includes two stars that transferred to the school at the onset of the year.

Star running back Chayse Russell transferred from Winslow and Jordyn Morgan — last year’s 2A Player of the Year — transferred from Valley Christian.

The two have combined for over 1,400 yards rushing despite the fact Morgan didn’t play in two early season games due to eligibility concerns.

While almost everyone is ready to hand the state trophy to Blue Ridge, coach Paul Moro says there are those who argue Show Low has the talent to upset the Jackets mostly because of the presence of record-setting quarterback Rathen Ricedorff and a talented set of receivers.

Show Low plays tomorrow at Williams Field High School against No. 8 Winslow.

The final matchup in the elite eight pits No. 5 Coolidge against No. 4 Snowflake.

Most pundits see that clash as a toss up, saying the winner will be the team that makes the fewest mistakes and takes advantage of breaks.

Quinlan, on the other hand, is predicting an all-East final four, which would mean Show Low would play Snowflake in one bracket and in the other Blue Ridge would take on Round Valley.

The final four is to be played Nov. 20 at Paradise Valley High School.

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