No. 7 Salpointe Catholic (7-4) at No. 2 Gilbert Highland (8-3)
Kickoff: 7 p.m.
Salpointe coach: Eric Rogers (25-8, third year and overall with the Lancers).
Highland coach: Brock Farrel (53-20, sixth year with the Hawks, 65-38 in his ninth year overall).
When Salpointe has the ball:
Run percentage: 55.4 percent (313 rushes)
Pass percentage: 44.6 percent (252 passes)
QB Fredo Sotelo‘s 7-yard touchdown pass to WR Nate Spivey in double-overtime gave Salpointe the 36-33 win over visiting Williams Field last week in the opening round of the playoffs. Sotelo has stepped forward nicely, replacing Treyson Bourguet as the starting quarterback this season, completing 133 of 215 attempts for 1,780 yards with 17 touchdowns and eight interceptions. Sotelo is also a threat to run the ball, tallying 308 yards on 53 carries with six touchdowns. … Salpointe has used RB Elias Roberts (529 yards on 97 carries with five touchdowns) and RB Dailan Goodman (432 yards on 81 rushes with six touchdowns) close to equally. … WR Gage Felix (42 catches for 675 yards with four touchdowns) is the top target. … Highland FS Joseph Allen leads Highland with 85 tackles and LB Chance Cauthen is next with 85, including eight for loss. DE Cooper Scott has 16 tackles for loss, 12 of them sacks. The Hawks have tallied 82 tackles for loss, 42 are sacks. … CB Cole Crandall has a team-leading four interceptions.
When Highland has the ball:
Run percentage: 64.8 percent (337 rushes)
Pass percentage: 35.2 percent (183 passes)
Highland’s predominant rushing attack is led by RB Carson Mullenaux’s 747 yards on 114 carries with four touchdowns. … Sophomore QB Kalen Fisher, a transfer from Hamilton, took over the starting role after sitting the first give games per AIA transfer rules. Fisher has completed 53 of 95 attempts for 738 yards with four touchdowns and three interceptions. He primarily operates in the pocket with only one rush in his five games. … Mullenaux had 100 yards rushing and Fisher 105 yards passing in last week’s 57-22 win over No. 15 Perry in the first round. … Highland also has three running backs with at least 300 yards — Eli Kirby (347 yards on 48 carries with four touchdowns), Jay Martin (344 yards on 56 rushes with three touchdowns) and Alexander Falagrady (303 yards on 44 carries with three touchdowns). … WR Mason Sparks is the Highland’s top target with 29 catches for 401 yards. He has yet to make a receiving touchdown this season. … Salpointe’s front seven is formidable with LB Orlando Gonzalez registering a team-high 89 tackles, six for loss and DE Elijah Rushing tallying 66 tackles with 12.5 for loss. Rushing has 11.5 sacks with an impressive 59 quarterback hurries. His tip at the line of scrimmage led to LB Damian Coley’s 57-yard interception return for a touchdown last week against Williams Field. … FS Mason Sanchez is second on the team with 69 tackles and also has two interceptions.
Red Mountain — Salpointe lost 27-24 at Red Mountain on Oct. 14 and Highland beat the Mountain Lions 17-14 on the road Nov. 4.
Chaparral — Salpointe opened its season with a 23-20 overtime loss at Chaparral on Sept. 2 and Highland defeated the Firebirds 42-14 at home to end the regular season Nov. 10.
Salpointe leads the series with Highland 2-0 with a 36-20 win at home in 2003 and 14-7 triumph at Highland in 2004.
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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