Prep Football: Defending 1A champ Bagdad earns 1st-round bye; Mayer to host opener

Bagdad's Rio Delgado (36) runs after a catch as the Sultans faced the Mayer Wildcats Friday night, Oct. 13, in a matchup of top 4 teams in the AIA 1A rankings in Mayer. Bagdad won the game 76-48. (Les Stukenberg/Courier)

Bagdad's Rio Delgado (36) runs after a catch as the Sultans faced the Mayer Wildcats Friday night, Oct. 13, in a matchup of top 4 teams in the AIA 1A rankings in Mayer. Bagdad won the game 76-48. (Les Stukenberg/Courier)

Bagdad’s defending Arizona Interscholastic Association (AIA) 1A state champion football squad garnered the second seed and a first-round bye, while Mayer picked up the fifth seed and will play host to an opening-round contest in the 12-team state tournament on Saturday, Oct. 21.

As one of the Top 4 seeds, the back-to-back West region titlist Sultans (9-0 overall record) won’t suit up until the quarterfinals against the winner of the No. 10 Valley Union-No. 7 Ray first-round contest. That game is slated for 6 p.m. Oct. 28 at Bagdad High School in Bagdad.

In their season opener Aug. 18, the Sultans pummeled Valley Union, 64-14, on the road. They did not face Ray this fall.

The Wildcats (8-1), whose eight-game winning streak was snapped by Bagdad, 76-48, Friday night at home, dropped from a No. 4 seed to a No. 5 seed. They entered Friday at No. 4, and narrowly missed out on one of those byes.

Instead, Mayer will host No. 12 Salome in the opening round at 6 p.m. Saturday at Mathern Field in Spring Valley. The Wildcats defeated fellow West region member Salome, 36-14, Sept. 15 on the road.

If Mayer beats Salome, the Wildcats would visit fourth-seeded Williams in the quarterfinals at 6 p.m. Oct. 28. The Vikings are the defending 1A state runners-up. The remaining Top 4 seeds include No. 1 Mogollon and No. 3 Superior Jr./Sr.

Bagdad, which is riding a 20-game winning streak dating back to the start of the 2016 season, needs three consecutive wins in the playoffs to repeat as 1A champions. Mayer would need four victories in a row.

What follows is the schedule for the 1A State Championship tournament (seeds are in parentheses):

2017 Arizona Interscholastic Association 1A Football State Championship

FIRST ROUND

Top Half of Bracket

Oct. 20

(9) Hayden at (8) Fort Thomas, 7 p.m.

Oct. 21

(12) Salome at (5) MAYER, 6 p.m.

Bottom Half of Bracket

Oct. 21

(11) Joseph City at (6) Trivium Prep, 6 p.m.

(10) Valley Union at (7) Ray, 6 p.m.

QUARTERFINALS

Top Half of Bracket

Oct. 28

Winner of (9) Hayden-(8) Fort Thomas at (1) Mogollon, 6 p.m.

Winner of (12) Salome-(5) MAYER at (4) Williams, 6 p.m.

Bottom Half of Bracket

Oct. 28

Winner of (11) Joseph City-(6) Trivium Prep at (3) Superior Jr./Sr., 6 p.m.

Winner of (10) Valley Union-(7) Ray at (2) BAGDAD, 6 p.m.

SEMIFINALS

Bottom Half of Bracket

Nov. 4

At Maricopa H.S. in Maricopa

Quarterfinal winners, 2 p.m.

Top Half of Bracket

Nov. 4

At Maricopa H.S. in Maricopa

Quarterfinal winners, 6:30 p.m.

CHAMPIONSHIP

Nov. 10

At Maricopa H.S. in Maricopa

Semifinal winners, 6:30 p.m.