Just a few weeks after their feisty regular season game, Mingus Union football opens the state tournament at Bradshaw Mountain.
The Grand Canyon Region champions face the No. 8 Bears (8-2, 4-2 Grand Canyon) on Friday at 7 p.m. in the first round of the state tournament.
Mingus Union (8-2, 5-1) beat the Bears 28-6 on Oct. 12 at home.
“I kinda figured they would be right there some where, I didn’t really know, I kinda anticipated not a big shake up in the middle of the bracket because some other teams winning and losing kinda thing but I wasn’t super shocked, I kinda saw it coming, it’s happened to Mingus before in the past, so nothing surprising,” Mingus head coach Robert Ortiz said about the rematch.
MUHS has won five games in a row, while BM has lost two of their last three, with that one win coming against Mohave, who went winless in region play.
Although the No. 9 Marauders know they can beat Bradshaw Mountain and the trip is closer than Phoenix or Tucson, Ortiz said he rather have played a new team.
“It’s tough, it’s playoffs I get it, they always try to go according to seeding,” Ortiz said. “One of the toughest things to do in sports is repeat against a team you already beat, mentally, physically, you got make sure your kids are in it from day one, but would I have rather played someone else? I guess you could say so, it’s just nice to see other teams outside the region and stuff like that, just teams you’re unfamiliar with, it’s a good experience, like I knew Prescott drew Greenway, that’s a good experience for them, somebody that they wouldn’t normally play but you just have to make sure that your kids are ready to roll.”
The last game was a heated affair as three players got ejected, two Bears and Mingus senior quarterback Antoine Zabala. Originally the rivals weren’t going to shake hands after the game.
Zabala was split out wide and senior running back Alex Nelson was a Wildcat quarterback on the play where Zabala got tossed.
“He was trying to make a block for Alex, their got guy got a little testy,” Ortiz said. “I felt like our kids handled it absolutely the correct way by removing him out of the situation, him not doing anything that he shouldn’t have. So it’s one of those things where it shouldn’t have happened, it’s bad for the game, it shouldn’t happen on either part but I don’t expect anything like that to happen this Friday.”