AIA releases first rankings for 2015 season

Jaysen Leonard breaks through multiple tackles during Camp Verde’s win over Pinon. Leonard has racked up 459 on the ground so far this year with seven touchdowns.  (Photo by Greg Macafee)

Jaysen Leonard breaks through multiple tackles during Camp Verde’s win over Pinon. Leonard has racked up 459 on the ground so far this year with seven touchdowns. (Photo by Greg Macafee)

VERDE VALLEY - On Tuesday, the Arizona Interscholastic Association released their first football rankings of the year for Division's I-V. The rankings determine seeds for the top 16 teams for Division's I-V. If the playoffs were too start on Tuesday, the Mingus Marauders and Camp Verde Cowboys would be on the outside looking in.

In Division III the Mingus Marauders came in at the number 22 spot behind Nogales and in front of Phoenix Thunderbird. In the Marauders five games so far this season they sit with a 4-1 record, defeating Cactus Shadows, Lee Williams, Greenway and Moon Valley. The only Marauder loss came at the hands of the Peoria Panthers who sit two spots behind Mingus at the 24. Other notable division III rankings include Bradshaw Mountain at #9, Flagstaff at #18, Prescott at #27, McClintock at #28 and Coconino at #39. These are the final five teams that Mingus will play through the last weeks of the season.

So far this season the Marauders have racked up 176 points according to Maxpreps.com. Mingus has been led this season by senior quarterback Jordan Upham who leads the team in both passing and rushing yards. Upham has passed for 304 yards on 29 attempts and has rushed for 422 yards on 56 carries.

Senior Tristan Clark is another standout for the Marauders with 325 yards on 30 carries. Senior Anthony Accurso has emerged as another offensive threat for the Marauders gaining 101 yards on the ground in their last game against Moon Valley. Accurso has also tallied six touchdowns on the year.

On the defensive side of the ball for Mingus, the Marauders have only allowed 83 points this year, and their only shutout came in week two against Lee Williams. According to Maxpreps.com, sophomore Cole Phelps leads the team in tackles with 61, 13 solo and 48 assisted. Pete Kelly has been another standout defenseman for the Marauders racking up 52 total tackles, 15 solo and 37 assisted. Kelly has also gotten into the backfield 6.5 times this season, bringing down opposing quarterbacks for a total of 61 yards for loss. Sophomore Tyler Kelly was right behind his older brother with 4.5 sacks, while Phelps and Aizik Romero both have three. The Marauders face off with the Bradshaw Mountain Bears Friday night, kickoff is set for 7 p.m.

In Division V, the Camp Verde Cowboys came in at number 32 for the first rankings of the year, behind Pinon at 31 and in front of Tombstone at 33. The Cowboys are 1-4 on the season, and have seen close games just slip out of their fingers. Camp Verde's losses came at the hands of Sedona Red Rock (#24), Holbrook (#18), Globe (#15), and Monument Valley who remains undefeated and is ranked as the fifth best team in division V.

Camp Verde's only victory came on their homecoming weekend as they defeated Pinon 50-0. Some other notable rankings in division V include, Chino Valley at #30, North Pointe Prep at #42, Joy Christian at #3, Paradise Honors at #11, and Mohave Accelerated at #39. These are the five teams that the Cowboys will face off with in the second half of the season.

So far this season the Cowboys have put 107 points on the board. The offense has been carried by a combination of players, but first-year player Jaysen Leonard has stood out for the Cowboys. Leonard has racked up eight total touchdowns through the first half of the season, scoring seven on the ground and one through the air.

On 54 carries the senior has ran for 459 yards and has tallied 15 catches for 229 yards. So far this season the Cowboys have been interchanging quarterbacks with senior Trevor Heyer and sophomore Payton Sarkesian. The sophomore has seen a majority of the snaps so far and has totaled 717 yards through the air on 70 attempts, while cashing in on five touchdowns.

Both quarterbacks have shown off their ability to run when being pressured by opposing defensive lines. Heyer has scrambled for 84 yards, while Sarkesian has ran for 216.

On the defensive side of the ball for the Cowboys, senior Jesse Etienne leads the way in tackles with 44, four of them have come for a loss according to Maxpreps.com.

Leonard has come up with 29 tackles so far this season, while junior Reyes Hererra has tallied 28.

The Cowboys have also racked up ten total sacks according to Maxpreps.com, three of them coming from Etienne while Herrera has taken down opposing quarterbacks twice.

The Cowboys return home this week to take on the Chino Valley Cougars, as they try to move up the rankings to make a late season push for the playoffs.

-- Follow Greg Macafee on Twitter @greg_macafee

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