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YUMA - The No. 14 San Tan Foothills football team was right with No. 3 Yuma Catholic for a quarter.
YUMA - The Tempe Prep football team was threatening to score what would have been a meaningless touchdown in the final minute of its game at Yuma Catholic on Friday.
1. Yuma Catholic — Perennial power has several key pieces back from last year’s semifinal team, including QB Jagan Cleary (2,244 yards, 29 TD, 7 INT), WR Donovan Rooks (755 rec. yards, 12 TD) and DL Marco Pericone (70 tackles, 10.5 sacks). Must replace star RB Kody Hazlett (2,577 yards, 33 TD), but still an easy call as preseason No. 1.
2. Northwest Christian — Defending champions lose most of their firepower, notably QB Kyle Shipp (1,978 yards, 25 TD, 5 INT) and RB Hunter McShanag (1,460 yards, 21 TD) but always have talent waiting in the wings. Matt Delos (115 tackles, 5 sacks) and rest of defense may have to lead way until offense gets up to speed.
3. Tempe Prep — Knights have quickly turned into small-school power after semifinal appearance a season ago. Ryan Whalen (86 tackles) leads tough defense. Offense needs to find replacements for QB Forest Redlin and RB Levi Hartzler.
4. Morenci — State runners-up were a great story last year and have right players back to make another run. QB Emilio Duran will need to pick up slack because team loses much of vaunted rushing attack.
5. Thatcher — Defense should be calling card for 2013 as Heath Motes (34 tackles, 3 INT) and Kaiden Morris (58 tackles) lead unit. Thatcher went 10-2 a season ago but will need to find replacements for QB Presley Motes (2,064 yards, 24 TD, 7 INT) and WR Jacob Drage (1,160 yards, 16 TD) to have similar success.
No. 6 Thatcher vs. No. 3 Tempe Prep