Blessed to have a chance to play at my dream school…. THE University of Arizona. The Lord knows I’ve waited patiently for my turn. Words can’t describe the happiness and joy. Thank you @LancerFBcoach for grinding these out! And Thank you to @SCLancerNation ‼️‼️‼️ #BearDown pic.twitter.com/f8YXWCEKbt
— Mario (@Mario7Padilla_) January 14, 2019
Salpointe standout Mario Padilla announced his decision to play for the University of Arizona on Sunday. Listed as an athlete by the Lancers due to his unique abilities on both sides of the ball, Padilla was named the Southern Arizona Athlete of the Year for 2018.
Padilla rushed for 708 yards, pulled down 389 yards receiving, had 20 touchdowns and he finished with 1,263 total yards. He collected three interceptions and had 19 tackles on defense.
The entire University of Arizona football staff made a visit to Salpointe last Friday and Padilla says Lancer head coach Dennis Bene brought him the good news.
— Dennis Bene (@LancerFBcoach) January 11, 2019
Padilla was on the Ed Doherty Watch list for the State Player of the Year award and was named the APS Digital/Tucson Conquistadores Player of the Week in late October. Salpointe went 35-6 in the last three years, including back-to-back state runner-up finishes.
Andy Morales was recognized by the AIA as the top high school reporter in 2014 and he was awarded the Ray McNally Award in 2017 and he has been a youth, high school and college coach for over 30 years. His own children have won multiple state high school championships and were named to all-state teams. Competing in hockey, basketball, baseball and track & field in high school, his unique perspective can only be found here and on AZPreps365.com. Andy is the Southern Arizona voting member of the Ed Doherty Award, recognizing the top football player in Arizona, and he was named a Local Hero by the Tucson Weekly for 2016. Contact Andy Morales at