Top D6 seed, bye for Bagdad football team at state
First-round byes usually benefit the team getting a week off. But the rest of the AIA's Division 6 football programs are the ones getting a break when the state tournament opens this week.
Bagdad, and its No. 1 seed, gets the bye, so no program has the daunting challenge of beating the defending state champs. At least for one week.
The AIA released the D6 pairings on Saturday, one day after the 8-man programs wrapped up their regular season. Bigger schools don't play their finales until Oct. 31.
With the top seed, the Sultans will wait to host the winner of the first round pairing of No. 8 Glendale Prep and No. 9 Superior.
Bagdad has faced Glendale Prep (6-2) this season. The Sultans notched a season-high for points in their 74-30 win back on Oct. 3. Casey Jeans had two rushing touchdowns and two through the air in that one, and defensive lineman Laken Yargus collected a sack, forced fumble and fumble recovery.
But the Griffins' 30 points were the second most scored this season against Bagdad (Pima's 32 in Week Zero were the most), and their 22 first-half points that night were the most the Sultans have allowed in one half all season.
Still, Bagdad will be the favorites in their opening round, Nov. 1, at home in the state quarterfinals.
The bracket's other top three seeds - Mogollon, Pima and Gilbert Christian, respectively - also drew first-round byes.
Fellow D6 foe Mayer did not make the playoffs.
Bagdad capped a perfect run through the regular season with a 63-14 win over Phoenix Day School for the Deaf Friday night. The Sultans, at 8-0, have won 18 consecutive games overall, going back to last fall when Bagdad won the school's first football state championship since 1952.
The Division 6 state championship will take place at North Canyon High School in Phoenix on Nov. 15. Kickoff will be at 6 p.m.