The Arizona Republic Super 10 has seen the most change this season after Saturday’s Open Division results.
Here’s a look at the top 10 teams entering the state finals. These are the best high school football teams in the state, regardless of conference.
Until December 6, 2021
1. Scottsdale Saguaro, 11-1
The Sabercats eliminated the nation’s No. 11 team, Chandler Hamilton, 31-24, to reach the Open Division State Finals for the second time in three years. Coach Jason Mohns pushed all the right buttons up. But there’s still Chandler waiting in the Open Championship game this Saturday.
2. Chandler Wolves, 11-1
Never count these guys. Hamilton picked up his miraculous win over Las Vegas Bishop Gorman. Wolves had theirs against Peoria Liberty, a 27-21 Open semi-final victory in overtime that seemed so unlikely, especially after Liberty won the ball with two minutes left in regulation time and a lead. from 21-13. The Lions couldn’t run out of time, Wolves picked him up in great position on the field and quarterback Blaine Hipa turned into Mr. Clutch.
3. Hamilton Huskies, 11-1
They were tied with Saguaro at halftime in Saturday’s Open semifinal, 21-21, but Huskies QB Nicco Marchiol had no more miracle results this season. Hamilton was derailed by a ball-control Saguaro offense, led by QB Devon Dampier (over 200 rushing yards) and a Saguaro defense that didn’t let the Huskies off the hook.
4. Liberty Lions, 9-3
For most of the game, the Lions contained and controlled Chandler, forcing six turnovers, but somehow lost another heartbreaker in the OT Open semis that will sting even more than last year for the offseason.
5. Bear Chandler Basha, 10-1
They lost the second half to Liberty in the Open quarterfinals, but all the key players are back next season working on what they need to do not just to get back to the Open, but to win everything.
6. Gilbert Highland Hawks, 10-3
Their three losses have been to Basha, Hamilton and Chandler, but they must clear the Chaparral hurdle that awaits them in Championship Game 6A
7. Scottsdale Chaparral Firebirds, 9-4
They are the only team to beat Saguaro, but before Dampier became eligible to play for the Sabercats. But this team has gone through a grind of playing tough opponents. Another loss was against Hamilton 35-32. With QB Brayten Silbor and his dynamo point guards, led by Grady Hickey, another 6A title is possible.
8. Glendale Cactus Cobras, 10-1
The 42-28 open quarter loss to Saguaro is more palatable, after how the Cats handled things in the second half against Hamilton. The Cobras may not have grown their size physically, but they definitely deserved that open spot.
9. Gilbert Williams Field Black Hawks, 10-2
They squared off with Chaparral, before the Firebirds got the stoppage they needed and the clutch practice to put away this fast, physical and well-drilled team that was led by a standout QB, CJ Tiller, and l one of the best big receivers in the nation, Kyler Kasper.
10. Tucson Salpointe Catholic Lancers, 11-2
Led by senior QB Treyson Bourguet, these guys were on a mission in the 5A playoffs, knocking out a scorching Notre Dame Prep team in the quarterfinals and dealing with Goodyear Desert Edge late in the semifinals. Now it’s time for the final to face the Cardiac Huskies of Horizon.
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