The Nogales and Rio Rico high school football teams are coming into Friday night’s county rivalry game at NHS hot, each having won their last two games.
The NHS Apaches are off to a 2-0 start after edging Cholla 28-27 in their season opener and beating Desert View 29-22 last week. Both games were played in Tucson, so Friday night’s matchup with Rio Rico will be the team’s 2019 home opener.
Junior quarterback Pedro Rodriguez is proving to be a very efficient passer for the Apaches, having connected on 16 of 25 attempts (64 percent) so far this season with three touchdowns and an interception. He’s also run the ball 16 times for 115 yards and two touchdowns.
In the Desert View game, Rodriguez completed six of nine passes for 147 yards and posted a quarterback rating of 109.7.
Paul Gracia leads the Nogales rushing attack, with 136 yards so far in 2019 on 35 carries, including one touchdown. He also has six receptions for 35 yards and a receiving touchdown.
On the defensive side, Abraham Aldaz is leading the team with 10 total tackles, including five solo, followed by Sebastian Granados with eight tackles — five of them solo.
The Rio Rico Hawks have bounced back after a Week 1 loss at Pusch Ridge to post two convincing victories: 44-14 over Empire at home and 41-6 at Catalina last week.
Hawk senior Frank Gonzales already has eight touchdowns this season – seven rushing and one receiving. He’s piled up 361 rushing yards on 38 carries (9.5 yards per carry) in the team’s first three games.
Meanwhile, fellow senior back Cristian Vega has amassed even more rushing yardage – 490 yards on 48 carries, for an average of 10.2 yards per carry. He’s got three rushing touchdowns so far in 2019.
Defensively, sophomore Anthony Amezaga has 15 tackles, eight of them solo. Both are team highs. Josiah Medina has 12 tackles, two sacks and a fumble recovery, while two-way players Gonzales and Vega have recorded 14 and 12 tackles, respectively.
Nogales, which plays in the 5A Conference, has dominated the historical matchup with 4A Rio Rico. Since the teams renewed the rivalry in 2016, NHS has won by scores of 45-0, 42-6 and 34-7.
Friday’s game at Apache Stadium begins at 7 p.m.