Cameron Hackworth leads Sabino to continued dominance of rival Sahuaro with 41-20 win

The play of Sabino junior quarterback Cameron Hackworth on Friday night against rival Sahuaro summarized the situation for one of the best at his position in the state and the series between the Eastside schools.

Hackworth is a dual-threat quarterback who should increasingly garner interest from higher-level colleges, passing for 298 yards and four touchdowns without an interception on 22-of-29 passes completed and rushing for 71 yards on 11 carries with two touchdowns in the 41-20 win over Sahuaro.

He also intercepted a pass at cornerback that led to his 6-yard touchdown pass to Devon Waxood, increasing Sabino’s lead to 27-6 with 9:10 left in the third quarter.

“It feels good not losing to your rivalry team,” Hackworth said. “There’s no better way to go 3-0 and win every time.”

Sabino (3-0) has taken control of the rivalry once again, winning the last three games over Sahuaro (1-1).

Since 2003, when Sabino coach Ryan McBrayer was a freshman at Sabino, the Sabercats are 16-3 against the Cougars. McBrayer was 3-1 against Sahuaro when he was a linebacker/tight end with the Sabercats and he is 4-2 as a coach since replacing Jay Campos in 2017.

The Cougars won two straight against Sabino in 2018 and 2019, outscoring the Sabercats 81-20 in those games, but the tables have turned once again toward McBrayer’s program.

EASTSIDE BATTLE - Sabino vs. Sahuaro Rivalry Series

Series history between Eastside rivals Sabino and Sahuaro
1974Sahuaro21-15Sahuaro 1-0
1975Sahuaro54-21Sahuaro 2-0
1976Sahuaro28-0Sahuaro 3-0
1977Sahuaro13-12Sahuaro 4-0
1978Sabino35-14Sahuaro 4-1
1979Sabino17-8Sahuaro 4-2
1980Sahuaro33-12Sahuaro 5-2
1981Sahuaro19-15Sahuaro 6-2
1982Sahuaro36-29Sahuaro 7-2
1983Sahuaro29-21Sahuaro 8-2
1984Sabino7-3Sahuaro 8-3
1985Sabino10-7Sahuaro 8-4
1986Sabino29-6Sahuaro 8-5
1987Sahuaro21-0Sahuaro 9-5
1988Sahuaro41-19Sahuaro 10-5
1989No game
1990No game
1991Sahuaro 27-7Sahuaro 11-5
1992Sabino10-6Sahuaro 11-6
1993Sabino7-0Sahuaro 11-7
1994Sabino21-20Sahuaro 11-8
1995Sahuaro12-7Sahuaro 12-8
1996Sabino20-3Sahuaro 12-9
1997Sabino38-7Sahuaro 12-10
1998Sahuaro20-19Sahuaro 13-10
1999Sabino62-7Sahuaro 13-11
2000Sabino38-13Sahuaro 13-12
2001Sabino38-35Tie 13-13
2002Sabino48-6Sabino 14-13
2003Sahuaro14-7Tie 14-14
2004Sabino29-6Sabino 15-14
2005Sabino21-16Sabino 16-14
2006Sabino45-7Sabino 17-14
2007Sabino49-12Sabino 18-14
2008Sabino49-0Sabino 19-14
2009Sabino54-17Sabino 20-14
2010Sabino63-17Sabino 21-14
2011Sabino52-3Sabino 22-14
2012Sabino31-17Sabino 23-14
2013Sabino27-14Sabino 24-14
2014Sahuaro21-13Sabino 24-15
2015Sabino26-7Sabino 25-15
2016Sabino41-35Sabino 26-15
2017Sabino41-13Sabino 27-15
2018Sahuaro34-7Sabino 27-16
2019Sahuaro47-13Sabino 27-17
2020Sabino27-23Sabino 28-17
2021Sabino34-22Sabino 29-17
2022Sabino41-20Sabino 30-17

“This is always a big game on the Eastside,” said McBrayer, 40-13 in his sixth year at his alma mater. “These guys played Pop Warner, or TYF, or whatever it’s called now, all the way through. Guys know about each other. Social media is out there.

“Guys look forward to it. You saw the big crowd, the big student section. Everybody was excited for the product that was getting put on the field. I’m very happy for our guys taking home the ‘W.'”

Sahuaro coach Al Alexander, trying to make the Cougars not only relevant in this series but overall, got his first taste of the rivalry as a first-year head coach.

Things looked promising early for Alexander after Sahuaro’s defense stopped Sabino’s initial offensive series, forcing the Sabercats to turn the ball over on downs at the Cougar 42 after Hackworth threw consecutive incompletions.

That was the only time Hackworth threw two straight incompletions in the game. He completed 19 of 24 passes from there, connecting with six different receivers, most notably the Berryhill brothers — Shamar and Savaughn — two more high-level college prospects.

The younger brothers of former Arizona standout Stanley Berryhill III combined for 12 catches for 179 yards and two touchdowns.

Shamar, a sophomore who has been offered a scholarship by Arizona, finished with nine catches for 131 yards after tallying eight receptions for 118 yards in the first half when Sabino built a 20-6 lead at halftime.

“This is my first year playing them, the rival school. We’ve talking about it all week,” said Shamar, who had a limited role last year as a freshman. “My job was just to go in there and execute, do what I’ve been doing what I’ve been doing this whole season and ball out.”

After that first stalled drive for Sabino, Hackworth engineered five straight touchdown-scoring possessions.

The first was capped by Hackworth’s 41-yard touchdown pass to Shamar, throwing over the top of two defenders perfectly into the end zone, with 4:08 left in the first quarter.

Sabino coach Ryan McBrayer has reached 40 career wins in his sixth year at his alma mater (Javier Morales/AllSportsTucson.com)

Sahuaro answered with a 75-yard drive that took 10 plays, culminating with an 8-yard touchdown run by Nehemiah Watson. The two-point conversion run failed and Sabino kept the lead, 7-6.

Watson gained 58 yards on six carries in that drive and finished with 149 yards on 18 carries with a 32-yard touchdown run with 7:45 left in the fourth quarter that cut Sabino’s lead to 34-13.

Sahuaro managed 252 rushing yards on 38 carries, but the passing game struggled, completing 5 of 17 passes for 61 yards with no touchdowns and the interception by Hackworth. It was the first of his high school career. He has played cornerback for the first time this season since attending Sabino.

“Our defense is bending but not breaking,” said McBrayer, who also serves as the defensive coordinator. “Guys are flying to the ball. They’re playing 11-man football. It’s not one superstar out there. It’s guys who know their job, that are flying, covering for one another.”

Promising Sahuaro junior quarterback Vinny Orlando, a transfer from New Castle County (Del.) Odessa High School, was kept in check throwing for 21 yards and rushing for 24 yards on 10 carries after gaining 118 yards on 11 carries with two touchdowns in last week’s 41-24 season-opening win over Seton Catholic.

After Watson’s touchdown run that cut the lead to 7-6, Hackworth engineered these four consecutive possessions that resulted in touchdowns:

— 12 plays, 72 yards ending with Hackworth’s 10-yard run with 5:33 left in the half.

— Six plays, 31 yards (after a fumble recovery by Cedric Jackson Jr.) culminating with Hackworth’s 6-yard pass to Brit Roberson with 14 seconds left in the half.

— Four plays, 40 yards after Hackworth’s interception finishing with Hackworth’s 6-yard pass to Waxwood with 9:10 left in the third quarter.

— Four plays, 74 yards on Hackworth’s 11-yard run with 2:48 left in the third quarter, increasing the lead to 34-6. Hackworth had a 36-yard pass to Savaughn Berryhill in the drive. Andrew Baca, who finished with 57 yards on 12 carries, had a 22-yard run to start the possession.

“If they want to go one-on-one with Savaughn or Shamar, we’re going to let our athletes to what we’ve got to do,” said Hackworth who completed at least two passes to five different receivers. “When they start overplaying Shamar and Savaughn’s side, we go to our other side. They’re just as good. I trust all of my athletes every time when we go on the field.”

Sabino travels to Palo Verde (2-2) on Friday to open 3A South play. Sahuaro has a week off before hosting Nogales (0-1) on Sept. 23.


— Penalties continue to be thrown at a high rate this season. Sahuaro and Sabino were each flagged nine times, the Cougars for 80 yards and Sabercats 75.

— Sahuaro’s Orlando had an undisclosed injury in the second half and missed a series before returning after senior Angel Hightower came into replace him at quarterback.

— A field-naming ceremony in the west end zone was held before the game to honor longtime Sabino administrator and principal Dr. Carl Roberts. Former Sabino coach Jeff Scurran, who coached the Sabercats to three state titles from 1988 to 1999, was on hand for the event. Scurran now coaches Rio Rico, which was off this week.

— Former Palo Verde and Arizona standout safety Adam Hall was on the sidelines taking photos and videos of the action. Hall is a budding professional photographer and videographer who mentioned he has a keen eye of the game after playing the sport and wants to capture special plays and moments.


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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