Football: St. Johns hosts Arizona Lutheran in state tournament first round
November 8, 2019 by Oree Foster, AZPreps365
New season begins tonight for first round foes, No. 11 Arizona Lutheran at No. 6 St. Johns, in the 2A football state tournament.
St. Johns (8-2) - Arizona Lutheran (7-3) matchup is one of eight post-season games on tap. St. Johns finished 3-1 in Black Region. Meanwhile, Arizona Lutheran completed its Agua Fria Region with a 2-2 mark.
St. Johns head coach Mike Morgan said his team played a strong schedule in the talented Black Region, which included Round Valley, Pima, Thatcher and Morenci.
St. Johns' lone loss in region play was to Round Valley, 21-7. St. Johns defeated Thatcher, 14-7; Pima, 28-0; and Morenci, 49-0.
St. Johns beat Benson, 28-25, in a non-region contest. St. Johns dropped a 19-15 decision to Blue
Ridge in one of its two losses this season.
Morgan said his team is licking its wounds after playing a challenging schedule.
"We're beat up physically," Morgan said. "Senior running back/linebacker Tanner Crosby is banged up physically. Tanner will probably play, but he is not 100 per cent. We have three players who are questionable."
Morgan noted that his team played Blue Ridge, Round Valley, Thatcher, Benson, Pima and Morenci week-after-week.
"Our regular season schedule was challenging," Morgan said. "I am proud of my players. I am proud of my coaching staff. My coaching staff prepared the players for each ball game and my players responded."
Morgan said it's a new season and anything will happen.
"I guarantee Arizona Lutheran will be ready to play," Morgan said. "Arizons Lutheran has power and speed. They have a multiple offense. They can run the ball and pass the ball. Their running backs run hard. They have a quarterback that can throw the ball when needed. They are quick."
Morgan said his team will make adjustments defensively.
"We have to contain their offense," Morgan said. "Our defense has played outstanding all season long. We have to step up on both sides of the ball."
Morgan said the key to his team's success is the performance by his 12 seniors.
"The players have worked hard all season, in practice and in games," Morgan said. "The players worked on fundamentals and have made them a better team."
The St. Johns - Arizonsa Lutheran winner faces the survivor of No. 3 Phoenix Christian - No. 14 Alchesay game next Friday, November 15 at the site of the higher seed in the state quarterfinals.
Morgan enters the Arizona Lutheran contest with 335 Arizona high school career victories. The late Paul Moro won 336 during his illustrious coaching career.
No. 16 Ganado Hornets, 7-2, captured the 3A North Region outright with an unbeaten 5-0 record.
Ganado faces No. 1 Benjamin Franklin, 9-1, in the first round tonight at 7 p.m. Benjamin Franklin beat Ganado, 48-6, in a season opener. Ganado's other loss was the expense of Blue Ridge Yellowjackets, 36-14.
Alchesay earned 2A No. 14 seed with an 8-2 record and 7-0 in 2A North Region.
A;chesay meets No. 3 Phoenix Christian, 9-1, tonight at 7 p.m. in the opening round of the state tournament.