Bagdad football makes playoffs, will host first game
The Bagdad Sultans will carry Yavapai County's flag into Arizona's first state high school football tournament of the fall.
The AIA released the final Div. 6 seedings on Saturday, after Div. 6 programs - 8-man ball on 80-yard fields - ended their regular season.
The Sultans, who ended their regular season with a come-from-behind 21-16 win Friday night over then-higher seeded Valley Lutheran, earned the No. 7 seed for the 12-team bracket, which will give Bagdad (6-2) a first-round home game.
The Sultans will host 10-seed Gilbert Christian (6-2) this Friday night. The Knights ended their season with a 70-0 pasting of Ash Fork.
Friday night's winner will advance to the Elite 8 and travel to 2-seed Mogollon (7-1) on Oct. 26. The semifinals and championship will shift to Shadow Mountain High School.
Mayer High School, which was seeking its ninth consecutive AIA state tournament appearance, fell short of the playoffs. The Wildcats (4-4) ended the season seeded No. 14 in Div. 6.
Bagdad last played for a state championship at the 1A level in 2000, when the Sultans under head coach Pat Ruiz lost to St. David 50-8 in the finale. The program is seeking its first title.