With the playoff season right around the corner, the Sahuarita Mustangs, now 5-3 (1-3 in region) in Region 3A South competition, will celebrate the team's seniors as they host the 3-6 (0-4 in region) Tanque Verde Hawks Friday night.
With the playoff picture looming ahead, head coach Don Watt had planned to hold senior night celebrations before the game to avoid distraction, but they will now hold the festivities during halftime.
The Mustangs will be looking for a win to stay in the playoff hunt.
“Our boys know that we must win to be considered for the playoffs. This could be a bit of a grudge match as well, last year on their senior night at their place they beat us 32-20, now the roles are reversed,” Watt said.
“Our boys have the playoffs in their eyes. It’s kinda like ‘Shark Week.’ We can smell the blood in the water.”
Sahuarita is currently outside the playoffs, ranked 17th in the region. The Mustangs will need a win Friday night to remain in the playoff hunt. The top 16 teams advance.
The Walden Grove Red Wolves face Palo Verde (2-7, 1-3 in region) with a home playoff game potentially on the line. Walden Grove (7-2, 4-0 in region) will play at home at 7 p.m. and honor the team's seniors as well.
The Red Wolves captured their first 4A Gila Region championship with a another big win. Everything suggests the Wolfpack should have another dominating performance Friday night.
Walden Grove is outscoring opponents 324-110, with the defense pitching three shutouts and allowing a touchdown or less in two other games.
Meanwhile, the Titans have struggled on both sides of the ball all season, scoring a touchdown or less in six of their nine games. The defense has given up more than 40 points in seven games.
Walden Grove is currently ranked 68 in the state, while the Titans are slotted at 184. Quarterback Alex Lopez has racked up 25 passing TDs, six more on the ground, and one on the receiving end as well.
His twin brother Jordan has caught 11 of those scores, while wideouts Bradley Capen, Hector Najar and William Fortin each have three trips to the endzone.
Final rankings for teams, along with the state tournament brackets, will be released Saturday morning.