Seton Catholic vs. Mingus
The smaller-sized schools (Divisions IV and V) play quarterfinal games on Saturday afternoon, and they won’t be immune from the playoff gauntlet expected in Div. I and Div. II.
Not even Seton Catholic, which has rolled through most of its schedule for a second consecutive year (a loss to Tempe Prep being the exception and even then the Sentinels lost starting QB Ryan Bresnahan and a couple starting lineman).
Tempe Prep’s defense was fast and physical, and this week’s opponent, No. 6 Cottonwood Mingus (3 p.m. Saturday at Glendale Apollo H.S.), might be the best defense Seton has faced since.
The Sentinels were pushed by Tempe High for most of that matchup in mid-October, but the Buffaloes didn’t have the physicality that Bob Young’s Mingus team will bring south.
Add in a forecast of cold, possibly rain and wind, and the slick-operating machine that is Seton’s offense might encounter rough edges. The question will be whether Seton can play a slightly-alternative style of play (run in mud) if necessary and whether the Sentinels defense can handle Mingus’ running game. If so, the Sentinels are likely to be headed back to the semifinals for a second consecutive season.
“The size difference of their offense and our defense is a concern,” Seton coach Rex Bowser said of Mingus. “They’ll run option, sweeps, misdirection, all kinds of direction out of their Wing-T, and do a lot more with it. ”
With Bresnahan’s recent return and the sharing of snaps with him and David Gesicki, Seton’s running game has quietly excelled most of the season. Despite being ravaged in the depth chart by injuries, sophomore Antonio Campanella has run well since being called up from JV in time to face Higley in early October. The skinny but speedy sophomore averages eight yards per carry.
Bresnahan led the team in rushing last week in an easy win against Chinle, but Campanella and Eric Probst and Brandon Garcia have done most of the work in the latter half of the season.
To no one’s suprise, Matt Haggerty (51 receptions, 802 yards, 15 TD) is having another big year on offense and defense, but Daniel Garlid had five catches for 148 yards last week (581 yards and six TD this season) opposite Haggerty.
“We really thought he’d be a threat for us this year and he has,” Bowser said. “We’ve been pretty balanced. We’ve run the ball pretty well so we’re hopeful to do the same thing this week.”
Mingus played No. 1 Lakeside Blue Ridge closer than anyone this season (a 16-13 BR win in Week 1) and are fresh off a solid, 17-14 win against a good Coolidge team last week. The Marauders’ losses have been to Prescott and Snowflake this season.
Luke Simmons at quarterback, plus RB Tyler Herndon and Dakota Hanks will collectively get most of the work on offense, though Mingus prides itself on defense.
The Snowflake loss, in particular, might be of interest to Seton fans because Snowflake has a dual-threat in QB Chase Walden, who gave Mingus fits (236 yards and three touchdowns passing; 160 yards rushing).
Seton doesn’t have a one-man wrecking crew like Walden, but the Sentinels collectively can run and (obviously) pass. Weather-permitting, perhaps.