Four local teams make state playoffs
Northwest Christian's season ending loss to Tempe Prep proved extremely costly. Just not to the Crusaders.
In the AIA playoff bracket — which was released Saturday for all divisions in football and volleyball — the Crusaders held onto the No. 1 seed they've had all year at Division IV. But Yuma Catholic's strength of schedule took a hit, and instead of moving up to No. 3 as coach Rhett Stallworth thought might happen, the Shamrocks fell a spot to No. 5.
NWC loses, YC falls
“It's not the ideal situation we had hoped for,” Stallworth said. “There are some other early round games we could have got which would have been much easier on our team and allowed some people to get healthier faster. With Northwest being upset like that, it threw everything into a tailspin. It doesn't make sense at this point, the AIA is going to have to adjust it and fix it. The best teams are all in one bracket for the most part.”
The Shamrocks open at home against No. 12 Willcox at 7 p.m. Friday. They weren't the only team getting in, as Cibola was only 19th in the power points in Division I, but was third in Section I and took a playoff spot from Tucson Magnet.
In volleyball, the Shamrocks made the Division IV tournament as the No. 12 seed, opening the playoffs against No. 5 Parker Thursday in Prescott. The Broncs swept YC twice in the regular season. Kofa earned the No. 16 seed in Division I and will travel to No. 1 Horizon on Tuesday.
“We were really excited,” Kings volleyball coach Brittany Garcia said. “I was really glad the girls' hard work paid off and they were actually able to make it into state. It's hard going in as an underdog, No. 16 playing No. 1, but we're just going to go out there and play our hardest, leave everything out on the court.”
Cibola football coach Lucky Arvizo made the trip to Phoenix to attend the live show in which they announced the brackets.
“I was pretty happy to see our name up there,” Arvizo said. “We're happy that we're in. With the power points this year you never knew where you ended up standing from week to week. We're excited to see our name there.”
The Raiders will face No. 1 Mountain Pointe, who beat Corona del Sol 55-35 on the road. Cibola lost at Corona del Sol 48-7.
“When you get into the Division I playoffs, regardless of where you're seeded, all the teams are pretty tough,” Arvizo said. “They're all top-notch teams.”
In Division IV, Stallworth said he felt most of the top-notch talent is in the half of the bracket that YC is in. The Shamrocks face a possible quarterfinal against Scottsdale Christian, then could potentially face Northwest Christian in a semifinal as opposed to meeting the Crusaders in the state final as they have the past two seasons.
“On a personal side of it, it doesn't make sense based on what took place this entire year,” Stallworth said. “(Northwest Christian) lost 21-20 to the Tempe Prep and held on to the No. 1 seed. How the hell does that happen? And Morenci stayed at No. 2 and they're undefeated. They're supposed to take into account your strength of schedule, and they're hardly even given us any strength of schedule, yet we played Parker, Estrella Foothills and River Valley, who are all top 10 teams in Division IV.
“There's no use crying over spilled milk,” Stallworth said. “If we win a state title, there will be no one to say we haven't played the best of the best in our division.”