AIA rules Soria will be eligible for Bradshaw Mountain game

Mingus Union junior Alex Nelson hugs Martin Soria after the senior caught an interception against Prescott in a 7-on-7 game his summer. The AIA ruled that Soria, who transferred from Williams will be ineligible the first five games of the season. (VVN/James Kelley)

Mingus Union junior Alex Nelson hugs Martin Soria after the senior caught an interception against Prescott in a 7-on-7 game his summer. The AIA ruled that Soria, who transferred from Williams will be ineligible the first five games of the season. (VVN/James Kelley)

Mingus Union football will be without the services of one of its best players for half the season but he’ll be eligible to come back in a big game.

This week the AIA ruled that Marauders senior Martin Soria is not eligible for Mingus Union’s first five games after transferring from Williams.

The Marauders (0-1) host Cave Creek Cactus Shadows (1-0) on Friday at 7 p.m.

Soria can come back for Mingus Union’s September 29 game against Bradshaw Mountain. BM was ranked in the Arizona Republic’s preseason top 10.

Soria is a safety and running back.

“It should be a big boost I’d imagine (laughs),” Mingus head coach Bob Young said. “We’ll see where we’re at at that point in time but he’ll definitely help us on both sides of the ball. I know he’s excited about getting to play here pretty soon.”

Last year, Soria led Williams to the 1A state championship game and was first team All-State as a defensive back and second team as a quarterback.

Soria has to sit out because he transferred in state, so he has to miss 50 percent of the games.

“I’m sure it’s very hard,” Young said. “I’m sure he hadn’t experienced that a whole lot in life but that’s just part of the rules and you gotta abide by the rules.”

UA picked to host state championship game

This week the AIA announced that a familiar stadium will host the 4A, 5A and 6A state championship games.

On Saturday December 2, Arizona Stadium on the campus of the UA will host the top three state tournament championship games.

The move comes after the state championship game’s usual site, University of Phoenix Stadium became unavailable since the Arizona Cardinals have three home games in a row in late November and early December. Sun Devil Stadium in Tempe, a frequent host before the U of P stadium was built, is going to be undergoing construction right after ASU’s season ends.

“Well I think that was their only option this year, based on what it sounded like,” Young said. “I think anybody that’s lucky enough to make it that far, they won’t have a problem (laughs).”

Arizona Stadium was built in 1928 and was expanded or renovated in the 1930s, 1950s, 1960s, 1970s, 1980s and most recently in 2013, a $72.3 million project. In 2011, a 47-feet tall by 112-feet wide video board was added.

The last time Arizona Stadium host the state championship, Tucson Salpointe Catholic won one of the titles, in 2013. The last time UA hosted the state’s largest division state championship game was in 1984.

This will the ninth time that Tucson will host the highest level football game since 1959. University of Phoenix Stadium hosted it from 2005 to 2016.

Young has coached Mingus Union in championship games in the state’s three biggest football stadiums. In 1997 they beat Tucson Sabino in the 4A championship game at Sun Devil Stadium.

In 2005 they lost to Tucson Palo Verde at the UA in the 4A-II title game. In 2007 the Marauders fell to Scottsdale Notre Dame in the 4A-II championship game at the University of Phoenix Stadium.

The Arizona Republic reported that the AIA considered playing the 4A-6A games at Chase Field in Phoenix, the Phoenix Rising FC’s stadium or at a high school.

“We were excited to go,” Young said about the 2005 game. “Once you get to that point, it’s a really neat experience. Actually we’ve played at ASU, U of A and Cardinals stadium, so it’s been a really neat experience for those kids to get to play in that and frankly the attendance out draws a high school stadium, so that’s one of the reasons that they have to do that, they don’t have a choice. It’s just a neat reward for the kids.”

The 2A state title game will be at Gilbert Campo Verde on November 25. So if Camp Verde makes it to the championship game, they will play at Campo Verde.

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