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This is the go-to place for region previews for the 2017 Arizona high school football season.

This will be updated frequently, breaking down two regions at a time, counting down to the start of the season.

Newest previews will appear at the top of this list.

RELATED: Arizona’s best high school football programs

3A South

The teams: Tucson Catalina, Tucson Empire, Tucson Pusch Ridge, Tucson Sabino, Sahuarita, Tucson Santa Rita, Tucson Tanque Verde.

The favorite: Pusch Ridge. Returns experienced team that is physically tough.

The challenger: Sabino. Only four starters return but always reloads.

The dark horse: Empire. Returns solid skill players.

The players: Christian Fetsis, Pusch Ridge, QB/DB, 6-2, 175, Sr.; Dakota Haynes, Pusch Ridge, RB/LB, 6-0, 200, Sr.; Kendal Tobin, Pusch Ridge, OL/DL, 6-4, 245, Sr.; Mitch Maas, Pusch Ridge, RB/DB, 5-10, 160, Sr.; Alex Verdugo, Empire, QB, 5-11, 205, Jr.; Wyatt Jeffries, Empire, RB, 6-0, 180, Jr.; Brandon Walker, Empire, WR, 5-10, 165, Sr; Christian Gonzales, Sahuarita, WR/DB, 6-2, 190, So.; Nate Christiansen, Sahuarita, OL, 6-8, 330, Sr.; Marlo Corona, Tanque Verde, RB/LB, 5-10, 155, Sr.; Tanner Foshay, Tanque Verde, RB/SS, 5-7, 170, Jr.; Clemente Quintero, Catalina, WR/S/K, 6-1, 165, Sr.; Jose Lugo, Catalina, DE/TE, 6-3, 240, Jr.; Will Offerman, Sabino, OLB, 6-1, 180, Sr.; Alex Bell, Sabino, QB, 5-9, 170, Sr.; Frank Oviedo, Sabino, OL, 5-10, 220, Sr.

The intrigue: New Sabino coach Ryan McBrayer played on Sabino’s back-to-back state finalist teams in 2005 and ’06. … Pusch Ridge returns nine starters on offense and six on defense. … Sahuarita won three of its last four games but it wasn’t enough to make the playoffs. …  Tanque Verde returns three backs who combined for 1,000 yards rushing. … Catalina hasn’t won more than two games in a season since 2012 when it won four. … Sabino has talent back in the skill positions but must find replacements in the line. 

3A West

The teams: Chino Valley, Kingman, Phoenix Northwest Christian, Buckeye Odyssey Institute, Mohave Valley River Valley, Wickenburg.

The favorite: Northwest Christian. Loaded up front with three all-conference linemen.

The challenger: Wickenburg. These guys will run teams into submission.

The dark horse: River Valley. Graduated 26 seniors but still talented.

The players: Jaden Hoyt, Northwest Christian, OL, 6-4, 285, Sr.; Harmon Shacklette, Northwest Christian, OL, 6-4, 245, Sr.; Derick Henderson, Northwest Christian, OL, 5-11, 240, Jr.; Zack Johnson, Northwest Christian, TE, 6-5, 215, Sr.; Dustin Inness, Northwest Christian, DB, 5-11, 175, Jr.; Alex Carrasco, Wickenburg, RB, 5-10, 195, Sr.; Shawn Holden, Wickenburg, RB/LB, 5-11, 160, Sr.; Devin Read, River Valley, DB/RB, 5-8, 180, Sr.; Thomas Marrietta, River Valley, OL, C/DT, 6-2, 250, Sr.; Colton Sandberg, Chino Valley, DE/TE, 6-5, 200, Sr.; Michael Paulus, Chino Valley, SB/DB, 5-7, 175, Jr.; Damon Heidorf, Kingman, WR, 6-2, 205, Sr.; Walter Morman, Odyssey Institute, RB/WR/KR, 6-0, 160, Sr.

The intrigue: This should be the best offensive and defensive line at Northwest Christian since 2015. All-state baseball player Jarin Davis moves in at quarterback for the Crusaders. … Wickenburg’s Carrasco ran for 1,121 yards and 14 TDs last season. … Wickenburg ran for more than 4,000 yards during an 8-3 season. … River Valley’s only region loss last year was to Northwest Christian, 34-10. But it must replenish with only one returning starter and under new coach David Klassen. Two-way lineman  Thomas Marrietta is River Valley’s only returning starter. It lost to Florence 54-7 in the first round of the playoffs. … Chino Valley lost four of its last six and went 5-5 last year. 

3A Metro

The teams: ASU Prep, Queen Creek Casteel, Fountain Hills, Phoenix North Pointe Prep, Chandler Valley Christian, Yuma Catholic.

The favorite: Casteel. Locked and loaded with everybody back from a two-loss season.

The challenger: Yuma Catholic. Only school to beat Casteel (twice) last year.

The dark horse: Valley Christian. Big bounce-back season due after going 3-7.

The names: Nathan Dykstra, Valley Christian, RB/LB, 5-10, 145, Jr.; Manuel Coronel, ASU Prep, WR, 6-1, 180, Sr.; Richard Molina, Yuma Catholic, LB, 6-0, 180, Sr.; Gunner Cruz, Casteel, QB, 6-4, 205, Jr.; Brandt Goodwin, Casteel, WR, 5-8, 155, So.; Cameron Brown, Casteel, SS/WR, 5-11, 185, Jr.; Malachi Siquieros, Casteel, DE, 5-11, 209, So.; Garrett Renner, Fountain Hills, QB, 6-1, 180, Sr.; Austin Lloyd, Fountain Hills, OL, 6-4, 295, Sr. 

The intrigue: Last year was Valley Christian’s first losing season under coach Jeff Rutledge since the former Cardinals QBs coach began leading the program in 2013. … ASU Prep’s Coronel led the team in receiving yards with 318 in just five games. … Yuma Catholic is driven after falling to Show Low 28-26 in the state quarterfinals. … Yuma Catholic’s Molina had 31 tackles for losses last season. … Casteel is starting its second varsity season without seniors. It is expected to move up a conference in the next realignment. … Former Fountain Hills football player Jason Henslin is startnig his first season at his alma mater as head coach. … North Pointe Prep has won just two games since 2013. 

3A North

The teams: Chinle, Ganado, Kayenta Monument Valley, Page, Tuba City, Fort Defiance Window Rock.

The favorite: Monument Valley. The Mustangs’ only loss last year came in the playoffs.

The challenger: Page. New coach, but same potent run game.

The dark horse: Ganado. Expected to have another potent offense.

The players: Kele Meredith, Page, RB, 5-10, 170, Jr.; Hayden Garcia, Page, RB, 5-7, 145, Jr.; Justin Curley, Ganado, RB, Sr.; Liam King, Ganado, LB, 5-9, 200, Sr.; Stanford Staley, Monument Valley, WR/DB, 5-10, 180, Sr.; Shamon Salway, Window Rock, TE/WR, 6-1, 210, Sr.; Billy Mitchell III, Monument Valley, RB/DB, 5-10, 175, Sr.; Barlow Marquez, Tuba City, QB, Sr.; Daniel Nave, Chinle, DE/LB, Sr. 

The intrigue: Page had a signature win last year, beating Lakeside Blue Ridge 28-22. The San Devils gave Monument Valley its toughest region game in a 27-20 loss. … Page returns 1,000-yard rusher Kele Meredith. Page’s Garcia ran for 800 yards. … Ganado outscored its 10 opponents 307-187 last year. … Monument Valley scored 388 points last season when it knocked off Winslow (24-23) for the time to open the season. Winslow got payback, beating Monument Valley 40-6 in the first round at state. … Window Rock WR Shaman Salway might be the best football prospect on the Navajo reservation. He caught 40 passes for 899 yards and 13 TDs last season. 

3A Central

The teams: Queen Creek American Leadership, Queen Creek Benjamin Franklin, Coolidge, Florence, Globe, Safford.

The favorite: Florence. QB Jared Wood returns after throwing for 2,800 yards and 37 TDs.

The challenger: American Leadership. Defending state champ loses one Boyd but returns another.

The dark horse: Safford. OL Ralph Frias back to lead one of 3A’s best offensive lines.

The players: Bujon Boyd, American Leadership, WR/DB, 5-10, 165, Sr.; Matthew Nevill, American Leadership, QB, 5-8, 155, Sr.; Tarrik Workman, American Leadership, RB/LB, 5-10, 155, Sr.; Zach Jefferies, Benjamin Franklin, Athlete, 6-0, 170, So.; Chandler Miles, Benjamin Franklin, WR/DB, 5-8, 140, Jr.; Carlos Diaz, Coolidge, NG, 5-10, 210, Sr.; Frank Andrade, Coolidge, C/DE, 6-1, 200, Sr.; Jacob Cardenas, Coolidge, C/DT, 6-0, 285, Sr.; Braden Dalton, Globe, TE/DL, 6-4, 250, Sr.; Sean Odell, Globe, OL, 6-4, 270, Sr.; Ralph Frias, Safford, OL, 6-7, 295, Sr.; Cameron Abril, Safford, WR/DB/K, 6-3, 180, Sr.; Powell Skiba, Benjamin Franklin, TE/DE, 6-1, 175, Sr.; Seth Hamblin, Benjamin Franklin, TE/LB, 6-1, 190, Sr.

The intrigue: ALA’s Nevill picked up valuable experience last year when the starter was out. … Florence returns 47 touchdowns in Wood and slot receiver Nolan Susel. … With Dallin Edwards out for six games last season with an injury, Nevill passed for 1,098 yards and 12 TDs. … Last year, Zach Jefferies played every position but offensive line on varsity as a freshman for his father Dave’s Benjamin Franklin team. … Safford will get an early test against 2A champion and arch-rival Thatcher on Sept. 1. Safford lost last year’s meeting, 20-14.

3A East

The teams: Lakeside Blue Ridge, Holbrook, Payson, Show Low, Snowflake, Winslow.

The favorite: Show Low. Assistant coach Monte Maxwell promote to take over where Randy Ricedorff left off.

The challenger: Snowflake. Rebuilding or reloading?

The dark horse: Winslow. The return of running back/linebacker Darrien Brown could be the answer.

The players: Jace Merrell, Snowflake, FB/LB, 5-10, 185, Sr.; Arturo Munoz, Snowflake, OL/DL, 6-2, 210, Sr.; Caleb Uchytil, Snowflake, OL/DL, 5-11, 185, Jr.; Ricardo Villanueva, Winslow, QB, 6-0, 165, Sr.; Ahli Foster, Winslow, MLB, 6-0, 215, Sr.; Mikel Bonner, Winslow, RB, 5-9, 165, Sr.; Brock Davis, Payson, QB, 6-3, 185, Sr.; James Turner, Show Low, RB, 5-7, 150, Jr.; Jake Reidhead, Show Low, WR, 5-11, 175, Sr.; Westin Keime, Show Low, RB, 5-11, 180, Sr.; Cole McDaniel, Holbrook, WR/DB, 5-6, 125, Sr.; Zakhari Waits, Holbrook, RB/DL, 5-10, 211, Sr.; Shane Law, Payson, RB/WR, 6-0, 145, Sr.; Luis Rosales, Blue Ridge, RB, Sr.

The intrigue: Only two starters on offense and one on defense returns for Snowflake, but there is lots of talent coming up from the JV program. … Winslow coach Brandon Guzman and his wife are expecting their first child, a boy, at midseason. … Show Low, which went 12-1 last year, has a new coach after Randy Ricedorff left to lead a new American Leadership school in the Southeast Valley. But Monte Maxwell has been entrenched for six years in the program as an assistant. … Show Low’s run game gets a boost with the return of Westin Keime, who had a foot injury last year. … Payson comes in with confidence after stunning Snowflake with a 7-6 win in the state playoffs. … Blue Ridge has struggled to get players out and it has showed since capturing the state title in 2013, Paul Moro’s last season at the helm and his 13th state championship at the White Mountains school. Since Moro has left, Blue Ridge is 14-18 with two losing seasons. Coach Bob London will try to make this a bounce-back season after the Yellow Jackets went 2-8.

2A North

The teams: Whiteriver Alchesay, Keams Canyon Hopi, Many Farms, Pinon, Red Mesa, Rock Point, Sanders Valley.

The favorite: Alchesay. Defending region champ ran the region table last year.

The challenger: Red Mesa. Once again, Alchesay game could determine region title.

The dark horse: Many Farms. Has enough talent back to make a run at the region title.

The players: Tyreck Cosay, Alchesay, RB, 5-9, 170, Jr.; Adriano Perry, Alchesay, LB, 5-8, 185, Jr.; Ammon Polacca, Hopi, OL/LB, 5-6, 215, Jr.; Charleston Tsosie, Pinon, RB/LB, Sr.; Garrick Haskan, Pinon, RB, Sr.; James Gonzalez, Pinon, DE, Sr.; Sherwin Benally, Red Mesa, RB/LB, Sr.; Descheny Dylan, Rock Point, RB/WR/K, 5-8, 150, Sr.; Johansen Yazzie, Valley, QB/FS, Sr.

The intrigue: Alchesay returns 1,000-yard rusher Tyreck Cosay, who has 34 career TDs.  … Perry had five sacks last season for Alchesay. He also plays tight end. … Red Mesa’s only region loss last year was to Alchesay, 42-38. … Many Farms won four of its last six game to avoid a losing record. … Valley lost its last three games to finish 4-6. … Pinon was outscored 461-76 last year. 

2A South

The teams: Benson, Bisbee, San Manuel, Eloy Santa Cruz, Tombstone, Willcox.

The favorite: Santa Cruz. Should have enough talent to make up for loss of leading rusher Devin Neal. 

The challenger: Benson. Lost most of top players but this program replenishes.  

The dark horse: Bisbee. Figures to bounce back from losing season with return of dual-threat QB Troy Ferestad.

The players: Titarro Jones, Santa Cruz, RB, Sr.; Jesus Cosillos, Santa Cruz, QB, Sr.; Manuel Corrales, Santa Cruz, OL, Jr.; Bryce Taylor, Benson, DB, 5-9, 160, Sr.; Troy Ferestad, Bisbee, QB/DB, 6-1, 182, Sr.; Sergio Montoya, Bisbee, WR/DB, 5-7, 145, Sr.; Armando Estrada, San Manuel, C/DT, 6-1, 290, Sr.; Chrstian Estrada, San Manuel, OL, 6-0, 250, Jr.; Darrion Bryant, Tombstone, DE, Sr.

The intrigue: Santa Cruz’s only loss last season was to Thatcher, 27-26, in overtime. … After reaching the state final two years ago and going 10-3 last year, Benson could be starting over.  Benson will see how strong it is in opener against defending state champion Thatcher. … Bisbee’s Ferestad threw more interceptions (10) than touchdown passes (seven) last season, but he ran for 1,684 yards and 15 TDs. … Tombstone will need to shore up its defense after losing twice to Benson last year, giving up a total of 109 points in those two games. … Willcox, 2-8 last year, was outscored 179-12 by Santa Cruz, Tombstone and Benson in final three games. 

2A Metro East

The teams: Wellton Antelope, Chandler Arizona College Prep, Chandler Prep, Glendale Prep, San Tan Foothills, Scottsdale Prep, Phoenix Veritas Prep.

The favorite: San Tan Foothills. George De La Torre doesn’t have much rebuilding to do in new venture.

The challenger: Chandler Prep. Defending region champ using 51-6 playoff loss to Thatcher as motivation.

The dark horse: Arizona College Prep. Wants to make immediate impact in first season.

The players: Zach Herrera, San Tan Foothills, QB/DB, 6-2, 150, So.; Amahri Bailey, San Tan Foothills, RB, 6-0, 175, So.; Brock La Point, San Tan Valley, OL/DL, 6-3, 285, Jr.; Alex Brandt, QB/LB, 5-9, 170, Sr.; Brody Gregory, OL/DL, 6-0, 210, Jr.; Mark Chavez, Arizona College Prep, QB, 5-9, 140, Fr.; Blaise Dalton, Arizona College Prep, K, 5-10, 150, Jr.; Saar Zutshi, Arizona College Prep, RB/LB, 5-7, 175, So.; Ahlias Jones, Arizona College Prep, WR/DB, 6-0, 155, So.; Karsten Santaella, Scottsdale Prep, RB/LB, 6-0, Jr.; Gino Vargas, Glendale Prep, WR/DB, 6-0, 150, Sr.; Ryan Rafidi, Glendale Prep, QB/LB, 5-10, 190, So.; Sebastian Bautista, Veritas Prep, RB, 5-10, 205, Sr.

The intrigue: San Tan Foothills has its fourth head coach in four years. George De La Torre is used to repairing ailing programs at Phoenix South Mountain, Florence and Mesa Dobson. But San Tan went 6-3 last year, finishing second in the region. … San Tan Foothills has 11 sophomores, but one of those, Zach Herrera, had four interceptions last season. … Alex Brandt split time at quarterback for Chandler Prep last year, passing for 486 yards and running for 313. … Arizona College Prep likely will start a freshman at quarterback in its first season playing football. … Scottsdale Prep has not had a winning season since Will Munsil led it to 7-4 record in 2013. SPA is on its fifth head coach since then. … Jim Ellison, who had strong years leading Phoenix Arcadia and was once assistant coach at Chaparral under Ron Estabrook, is leading Veritas Prep.

2A Metro West

The teams: Phoenix Arizona Lutheran, Phoenix Bourgade Catholic, Gilbert Christian, Glendale Joy Christian, Phoenix Christian, Scottsdale Christian, Tempe Prep.

The favorite: Phoenix Christian. Coach Brian Cole moves in with championship rings from Joy Christian and North Canyon.

The challenger: Scottsdale Christian. Losing QB Jack Miller in a transfer move to Chaparral could be a big adjustment.

The dark horse: Gilbert Christian. Close to tripling the number of players that began the 2016 season (just 13 players) after going 6-5. 

The players: Mason Rhynard, Joy Christian, WR/S, 5-10, 150, Jr.; Boston Schwesinger, Joy Christian, DE/G, 6-0, 190, Sr.; Tito Figueroa, Phoenix Christian, C, 5-11, 250, Sr.; Daniel Frampton, Phoenix Christian, WR/DB, 6-1, 180, Sr.; Corey Leary, Phoenix Christian, WR/DB, 5-9, 170, Sr.; Nick Hershey, Gilbert Christian, QB/DB, 5-10, 165, Sr.; Drew DeBree, Gilbert Christian, WR/DB, 6-2, 185, Sr.; Hunter Trask, Gilbert Christian, OL/DL, 5-10, 210, Jr.; Jackson Gray, Arizona Lutheran, RB, 5-8, 170, Sr.; Brandon Garcia, Arizona Lutheran, RB/S, 6-0, 175, Jr.; Jake Havens, Scottsdale Christian, QB, 6-3, 175, Jr.; Jacob Kaites, Scottsdale Christian, WR/DB, 5-11, 165, Sr.; Kevin Rodriguez, Bourgade, DL, 6-1, 232, So.

The intrigue: Four of the seven teams have new head coaches. … Joy Christian, which won state under Cole two years ago, will try to bounce back from an 0-8 season under new coach Patrick Blakesley. … Phoenix Christian center Tito Figueroa will be in his fourth year as a varsity starter, his first two at Joy Christian. … Phoenix Christian should have one of the best offensive and defensive lines in 2A. … Scott McDaniel has taken over from Shawn Patterson at Gilbert Christian, which returns all five starting offensive linemen from a playoff team. …  Arizona Lutheran returns 10 starters on offense and all 11 on defense. … Joshua Brittain is in his second season leading Tempe Prep after his father led it to a 2A final. Last year’s team won eight games. … Marcel Lopez, a former St. Mary’s football player, replaces former St. Mary’s coach Pat Lavin as head coach at Bourgade Catholic.

2A Central

The teams: Camp Verde, Kingman Academy, Mohave Accelerated, Surprise Paradise Honors, Parker, Sedona Red Rock, Tonopah Valley

The favorite: Paradise Honors. Returns starting QB and a 1,000-yard rusher.

The challenger: Tonopah Valley. Returns top three rushers and top passer.

The dark horse: Kingman Academy. Top two receivers return from 6-4 team.

The players: Christian Moga, Paradise Honors, RB/LB, 6-2, 205, Sr.; Chris Davis, Tonopah Valley, QB, 6-2, 216, Sr.; Angelo Anderson, Tonopah Valley, RB, 6-0, 180, Jr.; Anfernee Valdez, Tonopah Valley, DB, 5-8, 146, Sr.; Nate Carter, Kingman Academy, WR, 5-9, 150, Sr.; James Hoban, Parker, RB/DB, 5-11, 160, Sr.

The intrigue: Kingman Academy is rebuilding after losing two 1,000-yard rushers and its quarterback. … Christian Moga, who ran for more than 1,000 yards last season, returns to lead a strong senior class at Paradise Honors. It returns nearly 30 players who will be seniors. … Tonopah Valley QB Chris Davis passed for 1,000 yards and ran for nearly 400 yards last season. … Parker went 3-7 last year but returns seven offensive starters, led by leading rusher Hoban.

2A East

The teams: Miami, Morenci, Pima, Eagar Round Valley, San Carlos, St. Johns, Thatcher.

The favorite: Thatcher. Defending state champions still loaded.

The challenger: Round Valley. Hungry after falling to Thatcher in state final.

The dark horse: Pima. Went 9-3 after move up from 8-man ball.

The players: Josh Whitaker, Pima, QB, 6-0, 200, Jr.; Dillon Workman, Round Valley, DB/RB, 5-6, 140, Jr.; Colter Hogle, Round Valley, NG, 5-9, 155, Jr.; Tyler Roebuck, Thatcher, QB, 6-2, 200, Sr.; Jordan Herbert, Thatcher, MLB, 6-2, 185, Sr.; John Robertson, St. Johns, QB, 6-2, 175, Sr.; Joseph Ramsey, St. Johns, RB/DB, 5-10, 175, Sr.; Steven Chavarria, Morenci, RB, 5-8, 135, Sr.; Isaiah Sanchez, Morenci, OL, 6-3, 315, Sr.; Athaniel Spurgeon, Miami, WR/OLB, 5-10, 150, Jr.

The intrigue: Pima’s Whitaker has a career QB rating of 124.6. … Pima returns four players who each had at least 100 rushing yards last season. … Pima lost to Round Valley 31-28, but the Kartchner twins as jumbo receivers will be missed. … Round Valley’s only loss last season was to Thatcher in the state final. … Round Valley graduated three 1,000-yard rushers. … Dillon Workman had 124 tackles last year for the Elks. … Round Valley’s last region loss was in 2012 to Thatcher, 26-13. … Thatcher has to replace its quarterback, leading rusher, top receiver, top lineman and leading tackler from last season. Thatcher graduated nine offensive starters and seven on defense. … Miami returns two 500-yard rushers.

1A South

The teams: Sells Baboquivari, St. David, Goodyear Trivium Prep, Elfrida Valley Union.

The favorite: Valley Union. Should win a depleted region.

The challenger: St. David. Takes a big step back after graduation.

The dark horse: Trivium Prep. Up and coming.

The players: Alex Owens, St. David, Athlete, 6-0, 140, Jr.; Dawson Meador, St. David, RB/DB, 5-8, 150, Sr.; Martin Bui, RB, Trivium Prep, 5-6, 150, Jr.; Adan Sanders, Trivium Prep, WR, 6-1, 175, Jr.; Derek Hahn, Valley Union, QB/LB, 5-10, Sr.; Noah Spence, Valley Union, WR/DE, 6-1, Jr.

The intrigue: Patagonia has canceled its football program because of the lack of players, but hopes to start a soccer team in the fall. … Trivium Prep is only in its second season as a varsity program. … St. David will have to replace Travis Davis, who ran for 987 yards and passed for 2,231 yards for a 7-3 team last year. … Valley Union will miss 1,300-yard rusher Karsen Estelle from a 7-3 team.

MORE: Arizona’s best high school football coaches – legends of the game

1A West

The teams: Anthem Prep, Bagdad, Mayer, Phoenix Day School for the Deaf, Mayer, Salome, San Pasqual Valley, Telesis Prep, Phoenix Valley Lutheran.

The favorite: Bagdad. Defending state champion returns 1A POY QB Israel Loveall.

The challenger: Mayer. Expected to go deep in the playoffs after a 6-5 season.

The dark horse: Salome. Should take a step forward after a 4-4 season.

The players:  Dylan Wildhide, Mayer, QB/DB, 5-8, 140, Sr.; Oscar Cruz, Salome, QB, 5-8, 155, Sr.; Octavio Martinez, Salome, RB, 5-5, 155, So.; Israel Loveall, Bagdad, QB, 5-10, 185, Sr.; Scott Finnerty, Bagdad, WR/DB, Sr.; Jonah Sielaff, Valley Lutheran, Athlete, 6-2, 155, Sr.; Karchi Csizmadia, Valley Lutheran, WR/OLB, 5-6, 150, Sr.; Connor Busch, Anthem Prep, QB/RB/LB, 6-0, 200, Sr.

The intrigue: Wildhide had 79 tackles and six interceptions, leading Mayer’s defense last season. … Salome’s Martinez averaged nearly nine yards on 35 carries last season. … Valley Lutheran tries to bounce back from a one-win season. It had only one senior last year. … Bagdad has won the last three West Region titles. Dalton Mills was the 1A Coach of the Year last season. … Loveall passed for 3,038 yards and 59 TDs for Bagdad in 2016, but his top four receivers have graduated. … Bagdad’s Finnerty had eight interceptions last season. … Telesis Prep canceled its season after four games last year. … Anthem Prep’s Busch returns from two-win team after passing for 430 yards and running for 560 yards in six games.

BEST OF THE BEST: Arizona’s elite high school program in each sport

1A East

The teams: Bowie/San Simon, Duncan, Fort Thomas, Winkelman Hayden, Phoenix NFL Yet, Kearny Ray, Superior.

The favorite: NFL Yet. A young 7-2 team last year grows up.

The challenger: Superior. Went 9-1 last year but has to fill big holes after graduation.

The dark horse: Hayden. These guys could win a playoff game or two.

The players: Robert Bohrn, Hayden, D/DE, 5-11, 155, Sr.; Frankie Valencia, Hayden, WR/DE, 5-9, 160, Sr.; Tyraill Carrethers, NFL Yet, WR/RB, 5-9, 180, So.; B.J. Bryant, NFL Yet, 6-3, 175, Jr.;  Marcos Bueno, Superior, WR, 6-2, 185, Sr.; Wesley Conyer, Duncan, RB, 6-0, 180, Jr.

The intrigue: Carrethers, one of the leaders for NFL Yet’s 1A state basketball championship team last year, ran for 600 yards and caught 24 passes for 374 yards and seven TDs last season as a freshman. … Bryant had 37 tackles, 15 sacks and 26 QB hurries last season. … Superior returns arguably the best 1A wide receiver in Marcos Bueno, who had 40 catches for 822 yards and 14 TDs last season. … Superior graduated most of last year’s region title team but has a solid freshman class coming in. … Duncan’s last winning season came in 2012 when the Wildkats were 6-2, but returns 1,000-yard rusher Wesley Conyer.

RELATED: Arizona’s most dominant high school sports teams

1A North

The teams: Colorado City El Capitan, Fredonia, Tuba City Greyhills, Heber Mogollon, Rough Rock, Williams, Joseph City.

The favorite: Williams. Not only the region but the 8-man state favorite.

The challenger: Joseph City. State semifinal potential.

The dark horse: Mogollon. Tossup with Joseph City on Williams’ biggest challenger.

The players: Martin Soria, Williams, QB/DB, 6-0, 175, Sr.; Trey Tenney, Mogollon, QB, 6-0, 155, Jr.; Cameron Baldwin, Joseph City, QB/DB, 5-8, 150, Jr.; Devon McLean, Mogollon, RB, Sr.; Matt Fields, Joseph City, RB/DE, 6-2, 200, Sr.; Daniel Lopez, Williams, RB/DB, 6-1, 150, Sr.; Zack Perkins, Williams, WR/DE, 6-3, 175, Sr.; Noah Horn, Mogollon, WR, 6-1, 155, Sr.; Tate Grantham, Williams, LB, 5-9, 185, Sr.; Chance Pearson, Williams, DB, 5-10, 186, So.; Rhett Beard, Joseph City, DB, 5-8, 143, Sr.

The intrigue: Williams’ Soria is a dynamo with the ball in his hands. He ran for 981 yards and passed for 1,548 yards en route to the 1A final. … Joseph City’s Matt Fields last year averaged nearly nine yards a carry and had six sacks. …  Perkins had seven sacks and 69 tackles last year for Williams. … Horn caught six TD passes in seven games for Mogollon. … Williams’ Grantham led the region with 111 tackles last season. … Williams’ Pearson has four interceptions as a freshman.

RELATED: Dynasties in Arizona high school sports continue

To suggest human-interest story ideas and other news, reach Obert at [email protected] or 602-316-8827. Follow him at twitter.com/azc_obert.


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