Tucson High School Sports

Tucson Conquistadores High School Playoff Report: Sahuaro vs. Salpointe Assures Tucson Final in 4A

One way to look at it: A shame that two Tucson teams must face each other before a championship game. Another way: At least one Tucson team is assured a spot in the title game.

No. 5 Sahuaro (10-2) faces the Class 4A top-ranked team Salpointe (12-0) on Friday night at Mountain View High School in Marana in a semifinal game that starts at 7 a.m. The game is a rematch from when the Lancers defeated Sahuaro 28-12 on Sept. 28 at home.

The winner of Friday’s game will face the winner of No. 2 Scottsdale Saguaro (11-1) and No. 3 Goodyear Desert Edge (9-3) in the championship game on Nov. 30, and that game is assured to be at Arizona Stadium, not at ASU, because at least one Tucson team will be involved.

Superman wears a big “S” on his chest. So does Tucson with its three S’s — Salpointe, Sahuaro and Sabino — advancing last night in their respective brackets with the Lancers beating No. 9 Cottonwood Mingus 62-22 and Sahuaro routing No. 13 Seton Catholic 63-19 in 4A action and No. 3 Sabino (10-2) winning on the road at No. 3 Snowflake 30-14 in the 3A tournament.

The Sabercats, who have won 10 straight games after starting 0-2, will play No. 2 Yuma Catholic (10-2) in a semifinal game next Saturday at Phoenix Shadow Mountain (6 p.m. kickoff).

Two Southern Arizona teams nicknamed the Bobcats were eliminated last night after successful runs — No. 8 Cienega (9-3) in the 5A tournament and No. 9 Benson (7-5) in the 2A bracket. Cienega lost at No. 1 Peoria Centennial 55-7 and Benson lost at No. 1 Thatcher 50-6.

Some notes on each of last night’s games involving Southern Arizona teams:

Class 5A

No. 1 Peoria Centennial 55, No. 8 Cienega 7

— Cienega’s lone touchdown was a 48-yard pass from QB Luis Morales to ATH Terrell Hayward late in the second quarter that cut Centennial’s lead to 28-7.

— Hayward, a senior, closes his varsity career with 52 touchdowns. He has scored rushing, receiving, on fumble returns, interception returns, punt returns, and kickoff returns. “Terrell Hayward is a superstar,” Cienega head coach Pat Nugent told ArizonaRivals.com. “He’s done everything we’ve asked him to do. He’s set quite a few records for us and he’s a great kid.”

— Cienega is 33-5 over the last three years under Nugent. Three of those losses are to Centennial.

Class 4A

No. 1 Salpointe 62, No. 9 Cottonwood Mingus 22

— RB Bijan Robinson had three long touchdown runs (36, 65 and 31 yards) and RB Mario Padilla added two more — in the first quarter — to get Salpointe off to a 35-7 lead heading into the second quarter. The Lancers led 49-7 at halftime and coasted to the win.

— The Lancers’ ground game took control. Robinson, a junior, finished with 259 yards on nine carries. He scored another touchdown, giving him four for the game. Despite missing two games with an ankle injury, Robinson eclipsed the 2,000-yard rushing mark, with 2,084 yards on 133 carries with 30 touchdowns. Last year, Robinson rushed for 2,023 yards on 189 carries with 26 touchdowns. He had 378 yards as a freshman. His career total is 4,485 yards on 364 carries with 60 touchdowns.

— Padilla finished with 86 yards on seven carries last night. He has 603 yards on 44 carries despite also missing two games with a groin injury.

No. 5 Sahuaro 63, No. 13 Seton Catholic 19

— Sahuaro will play in the state semifinals for the first time since 1999, when coach Scott McKee was a member of the Arizona football team as a walk-on fresh off his Sabino career and well before any of the Cougars were born.

— RB Izaiah Davis finished with a career-high 246 yards on 23 carries and one touchdown.

— RB/LB Cameron Williams had 88 yards on 12 carries. He had four touchdowns and one interception.

— Sahuaro started slow leading only 14-12 at halftime and trailing 19-14 with 11 minutes left in the third quarter. The Cougars went on to score 49 unanswered points in the second half. “I knew those guys would get it,” McKee told The Arizona Daily Star. “We just needed to keep plugging away.”

— Also scoring for Sahuaro: RB Trevion Watkins (19 yard run), WR Amir Hunter-Huggins (34 yard pass from QB Damion Wright), RB Jakob Goerke (75 yard run) and WR Damon Robledo (18 yard pass from QB Devyn Roberts).

Class 3A

No. 6 Sabino 30, No. 3 Snowflake 14

— Sabino overcame deficits of 7-0 after the first quarter and 14-10 heading into the fourth quarter to overcome Snowflake on the road, capping the win with 20 unanswered points in the fourth quarter. LB Richie Piña’s 56-yard interception return for a touchdown started the fourth-quarter rally, giving the Sabercats a 17-14 lead with 11:00 left. QB A.J. Skaggs completed a 5-yard touchdown pass to WR Jimmy Hamilton and RB Jamel Brown had a 42-yard touchdown run to close the scoring.

— Skaggs completed 20 of 30 passes for 235 yards with two touchdowns and an interception. Brown had 94 yards on 14 carries. WR Jayson Petty caught eight passes for 78 yards and a touchdown while Hamilton had six receptions for 82 yards. In addition to his game-changing pick-6, Piña led the Sabercats with 10 tackles.

Class 2A

No. 1 Thatcher 50, No. 9 Benson 6

— Benson lost for the second time at Thatcher this season after falling 48-6 on Sept. 14.

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