State football tournament play resumes with second-round action, but on Saturday rather than the traditional Friday night games of the regular season.
A pair of games will be played tomorrow, Nov. 12 at Paradise Valley and another two, tomorrow at North Canyon High School.
Among the most intriguing clashes could be No. 7 Florence vs. No. 2 Snowflake at North Canyon.
Florence’s offense revolves around junior running back Nick Brown, who has scored 23 touchdowns this season.
Quarterback Chase Walden, a former Payson High School athlete, who is billed as both a good passer and runner, leads Snowflake.
He’s rushed this year for 800-plus yards and passed for another 1,568.
The key to a Florence win could be containing Walden both on the ground and in the air.
The Blue Ridge vs. Buckeye quarterfinal game, at PVHS, could also be a tournament highlight. Just about every fan in Arizona is ready to hand the 2011 state championship trophy to undefeated and top-ranked Blue Ridge, but Buckeye undoubtedly has upset hopes.
Hawk hopes for a “W” could rest on the passing arm of quarterback Alex Alvarez who has thrown for almost 1,700 yards this season.
He, however, is prone to throwing interceptions, which is a BR defensive strength.
The Hawks supplement Alvarez’s throwing with a pretty fair country running back in Jabril Taylor.
Blue Ridge’s strengths are no secret around the state — tremendous tradition and solid coaching.
For Buckeye to get past that, the players must be well prepared and undaunted by the Jackets’ reputation.
Also in the tournament, defending state champion Show Low and its BYU-bound superstar Josh Weeks plays Empire, a relatively unknown newcomer. That game is set for NCHS
At Paradise Valley, undefeated Seton Catholic, a longtime Class 4A power, takes on the Parker Broncos.
Valley area fans are claiming Seton is every bit the equal of Blue Ridge, but the two won’t meet in the championship finale because they are aligned in the same tournament bracket.
If the two unbeatens do clash, it would be on Nov. 19 in the semifinals.
Seton relies heavily on its passing game, averaging 278 yards per game through the airways.
The Yellow Jackets are ground oriented, rushing for an average of 267 yards and passing for 138 yards.
Both BR and Seton are scoring machines — the Jackets average 40 ppg and the Chandler school averages 46 ppg.
PHS alum returns
Former Payson High School student-athlete Heath Bebout is once again bringing his All Power Combat 6 competition to the Tonto Apache Recreation Center in Payson.
The event, to begin at 6 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 19, will feature 25 martial arts fights.
The heavyweight main event pits Chinle’s Sydney Yazzie against Brian Ryan of Show Low.
In the featherweight highlight, Payson’s Randy Steinke takes on Montino Hardy of Phoenix.
Mesa’s Crystal Diane meets Tucson’s Brenna Larkin in the female showdown.
General admission tickets, if purchased before the day of the fight, are $20 and $40 for cage-side.
At the door, prices increase to $25 and $50.
Tickets may be purchased at the Tonto Apache Recreation Center, the Triangle Academy of Payson and at allpowers combat.com. Doors open on fight night at 5 p.m.