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Here's everything you need to know before these top 50 programs take the field:
Saguaro (AZ) vs. Liberty (NV)
When: Saturday, Aug. 26 at 7 PM (MT)
Where: Freedom Field, Henderson, NV
What You Should Know About Saguaro:The Sabercats are winners of four straight Arizona state titles and 26 consecutive games. In a rematch of last season's 4A championship game, Saguaro dominated Tucson Catalina Hills 41-13 in its season opener on Friday.
What You Should Know About Liberty:Last season's 4A state runner-up, Liberty finished 2016 with a 12-2 record -- ultimately falling to national powerhouse Bishop Gorman. Head coach Rick Muraco is 84-21 in eight seasons. The Patriots were 14-41 in the six seasons preceding the Muraco-era.
OFFENSE:From Sept. 18 to Oct. 21 of last year, the Patriots scored 50-plus points four times in five games. Quarterback Kenyon Oblad headlines the team's prospects, and his ability to take over a game has been on display throughout his career at Liberty. The composite sixth-ranked player in Nevada has thrown for over 9,000 yards and 87 touchdowns during his three years as the starter -- much of that to Hawaii commit Marquez Powell, the team's top skill player. With Oblad and Powell, the Patriots are always explosive.
Saguaro lost its top receiver, a 2,000-yard rusher, and four of its five starting offensive linemen -- the latter of whom each signed with Pac-12 schools. That's a lot of replacing for most team to do, but most programs aren't Saguaro. Running back La'Ray Lucas rushed for three touchdowns in the opener and quarterback Max Massingale -- an Air Force commit -- is a pure playmaker who gives the Sabercats a puncher's chance regardless of the opponent.
DEFENSE:For most of last season, the Liberty defense was dominant -- holding opponents to just 13.3 points per game in the team's 12 victories. Senior safety Allan Mwata is a versatile defender who will move all over the field for the Patriots -- everywhere from corner to edge rusher -- accordingly to offensive personnel and alignment. Speaking of versatile, Crishaun Lappin -- who will likely line up on both the edge and the interior -- will be among the most athletic defensive lineman Saguaro will see all season.
Again we see the recurring theme for this Saguaro team on defense, where the Sabercats must replace eight of 11 starters, including inside linebackers Brandt Casey and Carson Nugent. Yet, just as is the case on offense, this program just doesn't struggle with departures. A laundry list of Division I-level talent fills Saguaro's 2017 depth chart -- a group headlined by arguably the state's top defender, safety Josiah Bradley.
INTANGIBLES:Liberty is no stranger to big out-of-state matchups, but the Patriots traveled for both such games in 2016 -- splitting a pair at Austin (Texas) Westlake and Corona (CA) Centennial. Saguaro must travel into the proverbial hornet's nest that is Freedom Field, where Liberty hasn't lost since Oct. 2, 2014.
KEY MATCHUP:Kenyon Oblad vs. Josiah Bradley
The quarterback of the Liberty offense and the quarterback of the Saguaro defense will go far in determining the ultimate outcome of this one. It's no secret that Oblad and the Patriots are going to attack through the air. The Saguaro secondary will need to be locked in -- and it all starts with a player who can almost single-handedly derail a passing game.
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