The Arizona Republic’s Super 10 had the most change than any week 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.
Through Dec. 6, 2021
1. Scottsdale Saguaro, 11-1
The Sabercats knocked off the No. 11 team in the nation, Chandler Hamilton, 31-24, to reach the Open Division state final for the second time in three years. Coach Jason Mohns has been pushing all the right buttons back to the top. But there’s still Chandler waiting in the Open championship game this Saturday.
2. Chandler Wolves, 11-1
Never count these guys out. Hamilton had its miracle win against Las Vegas Bishop Gorman. The Wolves had theirs against Peoria Liberty, a 27-21 overtime Open semifinal victory that looked so improbable, especially after Liberty got the ball back with two minutes left in regulation and a 21-13 lead. The Lions couldn’t run out the clock, the Wolves got it back in great field position and quarterback Blaine Hipa turned into Mr. Clutch.
3. Hamilton Huskies, 11-1
They were even with Saguaro at halftime in the Open semifinal game Saturday, 21-21, but Huskies QB Nicco Marchiol had no more miracle finishes left this season. Hamilton was derailed by a ball-control Saguaro offense, led by QB Devon Dampier (more than 200 rushing yards) and a Saguaro defense that wouldn’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 some way lost another Open semifinal heart-breaker in OT that will sting even more than last year through the offseason.
5. Chandler Basha Bears, 10-1
They lost the second half to Liberty in the Open quarterfinals, but all the key players are back next season to work on what they need to do to not only get back to the Open, but to win it all.
6. Gilbert Highland Hawks, 10-3
Their three losses were to Basha, Hamilton and Chandler, but they need to get over the Chaparral hurdle that awaits in the 6A championship game
7. Scottsdale Chaparral Firebirds, 9-4
They’re the only team to beat Saguaro, albeit before Dampier became eligible to play for the Sabercats. But this team has gone through a grind of playing tough opponents. Another loss was to Hamilton 35-32. With QB Brayten Silbor and his dynamo playmakers, 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 the way the ‘Cats handled business in the second half against Hamilton. The Cobras may have not sized up physically but they definitely deserved that Open spot.
9. Gilbert Williams Field Black Hawks, 10-2
They went toe to toe with Chaparral, before the Firebirds made the stop they needed and clutch drive to put away this fast, physical, well-coached team that was led by a remarkable QB, C.J. Tiller, and 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 have been on a mission in the 5A playoffs, knocking off a red-hot Notre Dame Prep team in the quarterfinals and taking care of Goodyear Desert Edge in the end of the semifinal. Now it’s onto the final to play the Cardiac Huskies of Horizon.
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