PHOENIX — Blue Ridge did not play its best in a 20-14 win over Fountain Hills in the 3A state quarterfinals a week earlier. The top-ranked and second-seeded Yellow Jackets hurt themselves by turning the ball three times, including twice deep in Falcons’ territory. So they were looking to improve against third-seeded Florence in the semifinals.

Blue Ridge beat the Gophers 53-7 to reach the state championship game a year ago. But there were reasons to believe the rematch would be tighter.

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