Entering the home stretch for high school football, with only four weeks of games remaining before the playoffs begin. As of now, local teams are poised to strongly represent Southern Arizona in the postseason, but a lot can still happen since most the playoff hopefuls have to face at least one fellow in-the-running team.
Except, that is, for Sabino.
The Sabercats (4-2) are currently rated seventh in the Division III power points standings, but the remaining opponents on their schedule are a combined 6-18. The "best" of the group is Pueblo (3-3), which sits 30th, while this week's foe Catalina (1-5) is 37th.
A soft finish to the season after such a tough beginning — Sabino got thumped by Salpointe Catholic and Goodyear Desert Edge, both of whom are unbeaten and rated No. 1 in their respective divisions — can be both good and bad for the Sabercats. Good because it can get them prepared for an almost certain playoff berth, since every section is guaranteed its top-rated team. But bad because Sabino could finish 8-2 yet still end up outside the top eight spots due to the weakness of their future foes, meaning it would open the playoffs on the road.
As for all the other locals in playoff contention, here's what they're facing tonight:
1. Salpointe Catholic (6-0) at Rincon/University (0-6)
9. Ironwood Ridge (5-1) at 8. Tucson High (5-1)
11. Sahuaro (5-1) at No. 19 Nogales (3-3)
12. Sunnyside (4-2) at Cienega (1-5)
16. Mountain View (3-3) at Casa Grande Vista Grande (2-4)
17. Sierra Vista Buena (3-3) vs. Desert View (1-5)
7. Sabino (4-2) vs. Catalina (1-5)
8. Canyon del Oro (5-1) vs. Maricopa (3-3)
16. Catalina Foothills (4-2) vs. Flowing Wells (1-5)
6. Palo Verde (5-1) at No. 14 Rio Rico (4-2)
9. Sahuarita (5-2) at No. 24 Amphitheater (3-3)
9. Pusch Ridge Christian (5-1) vs. San Manuel (2-4)
10. Benson (4-2) vs. Morenci (2-3)
17. Bisbee (4-2) at Thatcher (6-0)