TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - The countdown is on to the 2017 high school football season.
Sunnyside and Nogales will get things underway on Thursday night August 17 in the first of the Coaches for Charity Kickoff Classic games.
And then the lights go on for Week 0 with 11 games here in Southern Arizona highlighted by a rematch of the 2016 Conference 4A state championship game between Scottsdale Saguaro and Catalina Foothills.
Sabino's Alex Bell leads the pack of returning quarterbacks in Tucson.
The senior threw for 1,759 yards last season with 19 touchdowns to just four interceptions. He completed 59% of his passes working as the Sabercats' primary signal-caller alongside Drew Dixon.
Bell is followed by Cienega three-star dual threat Jamarye Joiner, who is currently committed to UA. Joiner threw for 1,713 yards and 17 touchdowns (six interceptions) while running for another 762 yards and 13 touchdowns.
Joiner is the #5 overall recruit in the state as ranked by recruiting service 24/7 Sports.
The rest of the list of top returning quarterbacks includes Marana junior Trenton Bourguet (1,397 yards, 15 touchdowns, five interceptions, 66%), Pusch Ridge Christian Academy senior Christian Fetsis (1,304 yards, 13 touchdowns, seven interceptions, 59%) and Buena sophomore Jovoni Borbon (1,129 yards, seven touchdowns, eight interceptions, 57%).
Bisbee's Troy Ferestad (1,684 yards, 15 touchdowns, 10.5/carry) and Safford's Manuel Aparicio (1,022 yards, 17 touchdowns, 6.4/carry) are the top two returning rushing quarterbacks.
And don't sleep on the two-headed monster up Route 77 in San Manuel.
The Miners bring back senior Alejandro Camacho (1,279 yards, two touchdowns, eight interceptions, 64%) and sophomore Caleb Quintero (1,348 yards, five touchdowns, ten interceptions, 74%) who combined to throw for over 26-hundred yards although with 18 interceptions.
San Manuel will be looking to approve on a 1-9 record in 2016.
We will add the top receivers, tacklers, sackers and and interceptors as we build up to kickoff later this week.
There are some supreme rushers returning here in Southern Arizona to begin this season.
Salpointe Catholic's Mario Padilla tops the list. The junior ran for 1,427 yards and 18 touchdowns as a sophomore, scoring 18 touchdowns for a Lancers team that lost to Saguaro in the state semifinals.
Padilla averaged just under eight yards a carry.
He's followed on that list by Rio Rico junior Rickey Perez (1,235 yards, 7.3/carry, 13 TD), Pueblo junior Ruben Rivera (1,234 yards, 9.1/carry, 10 TD), Canyon del Oro's Elijah Carey (1,007 yards, 6.5/carry, 8 TD), Ironwood Ridge senior Nick Brahler (1,004 yards, 6.3/carry, 15 TD) and Pusch Ridge senior Dakota Haynes (778 yards, 7.3/carry, 14 TD).