Benson earned the No. 1 seed on the strength of a defense that has posted three shutouts and allowed 5.1 points per game. In a Week 4 matchup against quarterfinal opponent Morenci, the Bobcats built a 12-0 lead after one quarter and held on for a 12-6 victory — the Wildcats’ only loss of the season.
Don’t expect Benson to put the ball in the air much — junior quarterback Brok Determan attempted just 26 passes in the first six games. Junior running back Devin Bowling leads the offense with 739 yards (10.1 per carry) and 11 touchdowns.
The Bobcats have reached the final three times (the last in 2015) but have never won the championship.
Scottsdale Christian: The Eagles earned the No. 2 seed on the wings of their high-flying offense, which scored a conference-best 363 points (51.9 per game) in rolling to a 7-0 record. Senior dual-threat quarterback Ben Tobin has thrown for 762 yards and 10 touchdowns and run for 750 yards (12.9 per carry) and 15 TDs.
Santa Cruz Valley: Led by the Ogle brothers — senior RB/LB Hunter (the conference rushing leader with 1,360 yards and 17 touchdowns) and junior QB Wyatt (eight passing and four rushing TDs) — the third-seeded Dust Devils scored more than 46 points per game, with their only loss coming to 4A top seed Casa Grande in a hastily arranged game.
Arizona Lutheran: The fourth-seeded Coyotes went nearly a month between games because of a COVID-19 quarantine that cost them three games, emerging just in time to get their fourth game in that qualified them for the play-in round, where they routed Willcox 41-8. Junior running backs Gabriel McKenney (667 yards, 12 TDs) and Jacob Holguin (564 yards, five TDs) pace their double-wing attack.
St. Johns coach Mike Morgan became Arizona’s all-time winningest coach this season — how fitting would it be for his team to win him a seventh state title and first since 2008? After a Week 1 loss to Round Valley, the Redskins won their next four regular-season games by a combined 215-20, then got past Chandler Prep 21-14 in the play-in round to grab the No. 7 seed. They have the defense to slow Scottsdale Christian, but do they have enough offensive firepower to take advantage?
Quarterfinal winners: Benson, Arizona Lutheran, Scottsdale Christian, Santa Cruz Valley
Semifinal winners: Benson, Santa Cruz Valley
Champion: Santa Cruz Valley
The Dust Devils feature the conference’s best player in Hunter Ogle, and in what should be a taut matchup, he’ll make the plays necessary for Santa Cruz Valley to pull out a close win for the school’s first state title since 1980.
Meet the state’s top players by position: