The Mayer Wildcats will open the first round of the playoffs on the road at Valley Union. The Arizona Interscholastic Association released the official Class 1A brackets over the weekend.
Mayer qualified for the playoffs for the second straight year under head coach Troy Head after defeating Orme on Friday night, 46-6. Last year, the Wildcats reached the postseason as an 11-man team. After realignment put Mayer back in 1A, Mayer has been one of the strongest teams this season among the eight-man ranks.
Mayer finished the season at 5-1 in the tough 1A North, not counting a victory over Seligman, which dropped football the week after losing to the Wildcats. Overall, Mayer sports a 7-1 record and will be ranked No. 3 in the Daily Courier's final rankings when released on Tuesday.
Joseph City (6-0, 8-0) nailed down the top seed out of the region after defeating Mogollon on Friday. Joe City will play host to Clifton (6-3), the No. 3 team out of the Southeast.
Since Mayer downed Mogollon, the Wildcats earned the No. 2 seed, but still have to play on the road at Elfrida. Valley Union enters the playoffs with an overall record of 5-3, which includes a forfeit win over Clifton and a forfeit loss to Bagdad. In the victory over Clifton, the Blue Devils lost on the field of play when the two teams met on Aug. 26. But Valley Union was awarded the win after Clifton used an ineligible player.
The Blue Devils' biggest win this year came on Sept. 16 over Pima, 38-30. That week's victory legitimized Valley Union as playoff contender.
Mogollon (4-2, 6-2) heads into the playoffs as the region's No. 3 seed. The Mustangs will play at Valley Lutheran (9-0), the No. 1 seed out of the Central, in one of the more intriguing first-round matchups.
In the other first-round game (only eight teams qualify in 1A), the Central's No. 2 seed, Canyon State Academy (8-1), will play at Pima (6-2), the No. 2 seed out of the Southeast and defending state champions.
All games will kickoff at 7 p.m., on Friday.
Winners will advance to the semifinals, scheduled for Nov. 5 at Apache Junction High School. The championship game followed on Nov. 12, also at Apache Junction.