2A Semifinals: #1 Thatcher vs #5 Phoenix Christian

The Thatcher Eagles celebrate the 2006 State Championship under Coach Don Conrad.

For the 3rd straight year the Thatcher Eagles will meet Phoenix Christian in the postseason. Thatcher won the previous two meetings by a combined score 92-20. The Cougars will be the first team this postseason that Thatcher didn’t play in the regular season.

Phoenix Christian has defeated Scottsdale Christian and Morenci en route to the semi final match-up Saturday with Thatcher. The Cougars hang their hat on a rushing game that averages over 300 yards per game. They are lead by RB Malik Taylor, who averaged over 180 yards per game this season. His 33 touchdowns account for nearly 70 percent of the team’s scoring.

The Cougars don’t throw often but when they do QB Mark Encinas will look for his leading receiver Mayson Rhynard. The two have combined for 7 touchdowns this season.

Thatcher will also rely heavily on the ground attack. The combination of RB Riley Morris and QB Jack Kortsen have combined for 28 of the teams 59 rushing touchdowns this season. Thatcher has had a total of 9 players score a rushing touchdown this year, giving opposing coaches headaches when it comes to trying to stop the Eagles.

Thatcher has only thrown for 631 yards in 12 games this season. Don’t look for the Eagles to air it out this weekend. They won the 2017 State Championship without completing a pass.

The two teams have played 4 common opponents this season. American Leadership – Queen Creek, Round Valley, Morenci and Santa Cruz. Thatcher went 4-0 against those teams and Phoenix Christian went 2-2. The two losses came to Round Valley and ALA-QC.

Thatcher will have to keep an eye on Taylor in order to get the win. In the previous two games, Thatcher has held Taylor to just 58 yards. The Cougars are going to have to throw the kitchen sink at the Eagles to pull of a big upset. Thatcher will have plenty of options on the ground and PC will have to pick their poison.

You can hear this game live on KATO 1230 AM or online by clicking here.