Salpointe is without its top 11 tacklers from 2019, including Ohio State freshman safety Lathan Ransom. Arguably the best player to come out of Tucson — running back Bijan Robinson — is now busting through tackles at Texas. And legendary head coach Dennis Bene, who resigned, is no longer on the sidelines.
Despite those heavy losses, Salpointe is ranked No. 4 in the state in MaxPrep’s preseason poll released today. Sahuaro is ranked No. 23.
First-year Salpointe head coach Eric Rogers took over for the Lancers after spending 14 years in the program as a varsity assistant and also head coach of the freshman team and junior varsity teams.
Salpointe’s offense should be one of the best in the state with junior quarterback Treyson Bourguet, who has committed to Arizona, in the same backfield as potent senior running back David Cordero, who rushed for 531 yards on 47 carries last year backing up Robinson.
After gaining midseason eligibility following his transfer from Marana last season, Bourguet completed 66.2 percent of his passes (45 of 68) for 805 yards with 13 touchdowns and only four interceptions.
Salpointe opens its 2020 season next Friday at home against Casa Grande. Presently, the Lancers have only three games scheduled. They need one more to have a qualifying amount of games to enter the state playoffs.
Sahuaro coach Scott McKee is entering his 17th season of coaching after leading the Cougars to a 9-3 record last year. He will count on seniors Devyn Roberts at quarterback and Jamir Gasaway and Trevion Watkins in the backfield to keep the productivity of the offense going without graduated Izaiah Davis (1,083 yards on 129 carries).
Gasaway and Watkins combined for 1,685 yards rushing last year.
The defense’s two top tacklers — Miguel Yslas (32 tackles) and Watkins (31) return. Both are linebackers.
Here is the MaxPreps’ Arizona rankings with last year’s record for each school:
1. Chandler, 13-0
2. Saguaro (Scottsdale), 11-2
3. Queen Creek, 9-4
4. Salpointe Catholic, 10-1
5. Hamilton (Chandler), 9-3
6. Casteel (Queen Creek), 9-4
7. Desert Ridge (Mesa), 7-5
8. Highland (Gilbert), 8-4
9. Chaparral (Scottsdale), 8-3
10. Higley (Gilbert), 8-4
11. Pinnacle (Phoenix), 8-3
12. Desert Edge (Goodyear), 10-4
13. Centennial (Peoria), 9-2
14. Williams Field (Gilbert), 12-2
15. Liberty (Peoria), 10-4
16. Boulder Creek (Anthem), 4-7
17. Red Mountain (Mesa), 12-2
18. Campo Verde (Gilbert), 10-4
19. Mesquite (Gilbert), 11-3
20. Horizon (Scottsdale), 9-2
21. American Leadership Academy (Queen Creek), 13-1
22. Corona del Sol (Tempe), 4-7
23. Sahuaro, 9-3
24. Phoenix Christian (Phoenix), 12-2
25. Round Valley (Eagar), 11-2
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ALLSPORTSTUCSON.com publisher, writer and editor Javier Morales is a former Arizona Press Club award winner. He is a former Arizona Daily Star beat reporter for the Arizona basketball team, including when the Wildcats won the 1996-97 NCAA title. He has also written articles for CollegeAD.com, Bleacher Report, Lindy’s Sports, TucsonCitizen.com, The Arizona Republic, Sporting News and Baseball America, among many other publications. He has also authored the book “The Highest Form of Living”, which is available at Amazon.