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2022 Southern Arizona high school football preview: Sabino Sabercats


3A South: Sabino Sabercats

2021 record: 8-3 overall, 3-1 3A South (second). Advanced to second round of the state playoffs.

Head coach: Ryan McBrayer, 37-13 sixth year at Sabino and overall. Former standout linebacker with the Sabercats who played for Jay Campos. McBrayer earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in history at Arizona in 2013. He has taught history at Sabino since 2016.

Sabino junior quarterback Cameron Hackworth (Stephanie van Latum/Special to AllSportsTucson.com)

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Key returners:

  • QB/DB Cameron Hackworth, Jr.
  • RB Andres Baca, Sr.
  • WR Savaughn Berryhill, Jr.
  • WR/LB Shamar Berryhill, Soph.
  • LB/RB Mason Cade, Sr.
  • DB William Spiekermeier, Jr.
  • DB Dominik Wayne-Parsons, Sr.
  • LB Jack Skaggs, Jr.
  • DT Francisco Contreras, Sr.
  • DE Juan Lopez-Rodriguez, Sr.
  • OT/DT Will Urbina, Sr.
  • PK/LB Steven Bishopp, Sr.
Sabino coach Ryan McBrayer is entering his sixth season at his alma mater (Stephanie van Latum/Special to AllSportsTucson.com)

“He’s got one job to do and that’s taking the other team’s best receiver and hopefully he’s going to erase him. As a defensive guy, it feels pretty good to have a guy like Cam (Hackworth) taking away a major threat. The way offenses throw the ball around the state of Arizona now you need guys who can cover. Cam does a great job.” — McBrayer on Hackworth seeing valuable playing time at cornerback this season.

“We’re developing really good, carrying it on from last year. We have all the spots filled up. I have the trust of all of my teammates. We’re going to go out there and make a lot of plays. We’re going to shock the world.” — Hackworth, who passed for 2,174 yards and rushed for 737 in his first year as a varsity starting quarterback last season.

Sabino sophomore receiver Shamar Berryhill will also play at linebacker and safety this season (Stephanie van Latum/Special to AllSportsTucson.com)

“It’s really big; it’s always been one of my dream schools watching them since I was a kid. I think it just makes me push harder knowing that I have a good future in hands and we should be good to go.” — Shamar Berryhill, a touted Class of 2025 prospect who already has a scholarship offer from Arizona.

“I feel like everything is coming together. Me and Cam, we have a great connection so I think it’s all going to fall in place this year and we’re going to have some good connections.” — Savaughn Berryhill commenting the longstanding relationship with Hackworth on the field dating to their Tucson Youth Football days.

Sabino junior Savaughn Berryhill during a drill with assistant Collin McBrayer (Stephanie van Latum/Special to AllSportsTucson.com)

“Things are going really good, been in the weight room, still hitting the weight room, still going at that. … I think (being the featured running back) is a really good responsibility to set the tone because I’m one of the guys who sets the tone, making big plays.” — Baca, a transfer from Desert View who played with Sabino last season and rushed for 184 yards on 27 carries.

Sabino senior LB/RB Mason Cade physically ready to play in 2022 (Stephanie van Latum/Special to AllSportsTucson.com)

“I feel like our defense is going to be just as good as last year, if not better. We have players who maybe didn’t play a lot last year but they’re ready to step up and play now. … This is definitely my breakout year. I’m going to be on both sides of the ball. I’m going to show a lot of people what I can do.” — Cade, who played defensive end last season for the first time and achieved 11.5 sacks.

Sabino offensive coordinator Sly Lewis has one of the most prolific offenses in the state (Stephanie van Latum/Special to AllSportsTucson.com)

Coaching staff:

  • Head coach: Ryan McBrayer
  • Defensive coordinator: Ryan McBrayer
  • Offensive coordinator: Sly Lewis
  • Quarterbacks: Collin McBrayer
  • Running backs: Vern Cooke
  • Defensive tackles: Jon Jolls
  • Offensive line: Bahren Perez and Mike Brown
  • Secondary: Jason Welsh
  • Linebackers: Ryan Burnison
  • Quarterbacks/defensive ends: Eli Trainer

Notes: Sabino opens against quality 3A Central opponent Coolidge at home on Aug. 19 and then will have a bye week before hosting ALA – West Foothills on Sept. 2. The Sabercats were originally slated to play at ALA – Anthem South on Aug. 26 but that school in Florence has canceled its program this season because of a lack of participation because it is a new school. The Sabercats filled the void by adding a game against Sequoia Pathway at home Oct. 7 … Records are not listed by the AIA with this but Hackworth has a realistic shot to be one of Tucson’s first to reach 2,000 yards passing and 1,000 yards rushing after last season’s production, depending on how many carries the Sabino coaching staff wants him to take because he is slated to play more on defense this season. … OT/DT Urbina has recently picked up a scholarship offer from Concordia (Minn.) and has gained interest from Minot (ND) State, Black Hills (SD) State and Adams State in Colorado.

Sabino defensive backs coach Jason Welch provides direction to one of the Sabercats (Stephanie van Latum/Special to AllSportsTucson.com)

Keep an eye out for: Baca at running back. The senior is listed at 5-foot-4 and 150 pounds and a lot of that is muscle. Very difficult to bring down one-on-one, especially in the open field, according to coach Ryan McBrayer. He bided his time at Desert View behind Carlos Alvarez and Serge Gboweiah when each ran for 1,000 yards in 2019 and was with the Jaguars during the 2020 season that was impacted by COVID-19. After playing last season behind Levi Miranda and Kenneth Blackman (both of whom have exhausted their eligibity) at Sabino, he finally gets an opportunity to be a feature back. McBrayer has mentioned that Baca stood out during the Purple-Gold scrimmage game recently busting through tackles and gaining positive yardage.

SABINO (5-0, 2-0)

Sabercats compete in the 3A South. *Region game. Games at 7 p.m.
DateOpponentW/LOvrReg
8/19CoolidgeW, 42-201-00-0
9/2@ ALA-West FoothillsW, 47-272-00-0
9/9SahuaroW. 41-203-00-0
9/16@ Palo Verde*W, 55-64-01-0
9/23Safford*W, 68-145-02-0
9/30@ Pusch Ridge*
10/7Sequoia Pathway
10/14@ Eastmark
10/21@ Thatcher*
10/28Benson*

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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. He became an educator five years ago and is presently a special education teacher at Gallego Fine Arts Intermediate in the Sunnyside Unified School District

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