Cactus a prickly 1st-round foe<br>Marauders' playoff opponent won 9 in a row after Saguaro loss

You can bet Mingus Union football coaches have spent the past few days reviewing film from the Marauders' final preseason scrimmage.

Mingus Union's opponent on that late August afternoon will be the opponent this Friday night as the state 4A grid playoffs kick off. The Marauders travel to Cactus High for a 7 p.m. start.

If you flash back to Aug. 29, you'll remember that Cactus executed some big offensive plays against the Marauders. That foreshadowed the regular season as the Cobras went 9-1, won the Wells Fargo Region and finished third in the final power points standings.

The only team to beat Cactus, you might wonder? Number-one ranked Scottsdale Saguaro, which prevailed in a 47-46 shootout on opening night.

The Cobras, coached by Larry Fetkenhier, have won four games against teams in this year's playoff field. Cactus beat number-nine McClintock 26-25, 12th-ranked Greenway 47-18, 12th-ranked Prescott 43-33 and 16th-ranked Tolleson 46-14.

Mingus and Cactus have played four common opponents. Both teams beat Sunrise Mountain and Sinagua. The Marauders, however, came up just short against Tolleson (14-9) and Prescott (15-8).

Mingus, which also enjoyed some offensive highlights in the scrimmage with Cactus, punched its playoff ticket with a 41-19 hammering of Coconino on Friday night. Coach Bob Young's Marauders finished the season 7-3 (5-0 in the Grand Canyon Region). They won their last five games.

The winner of Friday's playoff game will meet either number six Tempe or number 11 Agua Fria on Friday, Nov. 23. Mingus played both Tempe and Agua Fria last season, losing to both teams. The highest seed will host second round games.

Other first-round match-ups Friday include:

• (16) Coronado at (1) Saguaro

• (9) McClintock at (8) Palo Verde

• (12) Prescott at (5) Tucson Sunnyside

• (13) Millennium at (4) Catalina Foothills

• (10) Greenway at (7) Chaparral

• (15) Tolleson at (2) Sunnyside

State semifinal games will be played Friday, Nov. 30 at either Phoenix College or Glendale Community College. The championship game is at high noon on Saturday, Dec. 8 at ASU Sun Devil Stadium. Chaparral, which defeated Mingus in the first round last year, is the defending champion.

The Marauders will be the only ones representing the Grand Canyon Region in this year's state playoffs. Coconino, which went 4-1 in league play and 7-3 overall, finished 18th in the final power points standings.

The Panthers were the only 7-3 team left out. Two teams with six wins made the post-season field.

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