On the surface, Sabino’s season-ending 75-43 loss to Yuma Catholic last night in Phoenix looks like a lopsided game with the Sabercats out of their league.
Not quite, otherwise Yuma Catholic coach Rhett Stallworth would not have left his starters in the game until the end. That was a sure sign that the Shamrocks respected the Sabercats’ potential to make things interesting despite Yuma Catholic taking a 62-21 lead with 5:58 left in the third quarter.
Yuma Catholic junior running back Ean Chavez had more than 400 yards rushing and receiving and scored seven touchdowns because the Shamrocks could never get him out of the game with a rolling clock. Sabino outscored Yuma Catholic 22-13 after the Shamrocks came one point away from the 42-point threshold for the running clock.
Sabino ends its season 10-3 with the loss in the Class 3A state semifinal game after winning 10 straight games to reach that far.
Thank you parents for your constant support and letting us coach your young men.Thank you coaches for your countless hours of hard work these last 5 months.Thank you players for being all in & amazing me with your play every week.What a ride 2018 was! Great day to be a sabercat!
— Ryan McBrayer (@Coach_McBrayer) November 18, 2018
Coach Ryan McBrayer is 19-6 with promise for the future in the form of sophomore quarterback A.J. Skaggs, junior running back Danny McAllister, junior receiver Jayson Petty and junior all-purpose player Diego Armijo.
Skaggs had a rough game against Yuma Catholic, completing 8 of 25 passes for 66 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions, but he played with a broken thumb. And his season was a memorable one. He completed 118 of 190 passes for 1,624 yards with 20 touchdowns and six interceptions. At 6-foot, 200 pounds, he has good size and figures to continue to grow as a junior and senior.
McAllister rushed for a season-high 118 yards on 12 carries against Yuma Catholic. Splitting time with senior running back Jamel Brown (who had 176 yards on 15 carries against the Shamrocks), McAllister had 570 yards on 69 carries with seven touchdowns this season.
Petty is a 6-foot-4, 220-pound receiver who will catch the eye of college recruiters in his senior season. In tandem with senior Jimmy Hamilton, who had 42 receptions for 603 yards this season, Petty had a productive year. He also had 42 catches for 554 yards (an average of 13.2 yards a reception) with 10 touchdowns.
The Sabercats will lose one of the best players in Tucson on defense, senior linebacker Richie Piña, who led his team with eight tackles against Yuma Catholic. He had 136 tackles, including nine for loss this season.
Armijo, who scored on a 23-yard touchdown run as a quarterback against Yuma Catholic, also had two interceptions in the game as a free safety. He finished with six interceptions this season.
McBrayer has a solid nucleus returning with the most important position — quarterback with Skaggs — in a very good spot along with one of the best senior cores in the state with Petty, Armijo and McAllister.