Salpointe’s Opportunistic Defense Corrals Colts

Buena’s potent offense had five passes caught by five different players before the Colts completed a pass.


That’s how Salpointe’s defense made Buena look in the Lancers’ 37-6 win over the visiting Colts on Friday night.

Buena entered the game completing nearly 70 percent of its passes with only one interception for 454 yards in wins at San Tan Valley Combs and Paradise Valley.

Salpointe, sidelined for three weeks because a player tested positive for COVID-19, picked off the Colts five times before Buena finally completed a pass — by its tight end, William Stemler — to Keyon Taylor on a 43-yard play with less than a minute left in the game.

“Hopefully they’re embarrassed by this butt-kicking that we had,” Buena coach Joe Thomas said of his players. “I’m embarrassed. Just standing here is embarrassing.”

The Lancers (2-0) head to Gilbert Campo Verde next Friday off the heels of the five interceptions — two of them of the pick-6 variety by Julian Robles and Jason Newton — and a fumble recovery at their own 1 in the second quarter while leading 14-0.

That’s a potential 21-point swing to Salpointe on three plays.

“We were aggressive; we had guys flying,” Salpointe first-year coach Eric Rogers said. “There were 11 guys flying to the football. … The defense just played outstanding. It was fun. They were physical. They were hitting.

“We’ve been talking about making turnovers and going after it and getting some interceptions all week long. That’s something we focused on.”

Put a big checkmark by that goal.

Salpointe’s picks were by Jaxson Greene, Robles, Antonio Martinez, Mason Sanchez and Newton.

Salpointe backup QB Dylan Dreis provided the Lancers a spark after starter Treyson Bourguet was shaken up on a targeting call (Andy Morales/AllSportsTucson.com)

Martinez also had a 26-yard touchdown reception from Treyson Bourguet’s pass on stride that put Salpointe ahead 21-0 with 9:10 left in the second quarter. His performance helped make up for the loss of high-profile receiver Elijah Barclay, who was suspended for team disciplinary reasons.

Bourguet, who has committed to Arizona’s program, completed his first five passes and finished 10 of 17 for 98 yards without an interception before he had to be replaced midway through the third quarter by Dylan Dreis.

Bourguet was dazed by a targeting call on Buena midway through the third quarter and did not return because of precautionary measures.

Dreis completed 9 of 16 pass attempts for 129 yards with a touchdown.

“(Bourguet) was cleared (to play), but we just felt like in the situation where we were at in the game Dylan did a great job coming in and going right down the field and scoring,” Rogers said. “We just felt as a coaching staff, ‘Let’s let Dylan play.’ He’s doing a great job. We’ve gotta good lead. We don’t need Treyson to take another unnecessary hit right in that situation.”

Salpointe’s defense created that situation frustrating a Buena offense that averaged 463.5 yards and had scoring plays of 85, 82, 76, 70, 55 and 44 yards in the first two games.

Martinez was the epitome of Salpointe’s unrelenting force against the Colts, contributing a touchdown reception and a blocked field goal to his interception.

“He was all over the field tonight,” Rogers said. “We knew that coming in tonight. He knew. I told him, ‘If you need some water, I’ll have water, because you’re not coming off the field. If I need to squirt it from the sideline, I will. Prepare to play all night.’ And he did. He was outstanding tonight.”

Martinez is a junior cornerback who bided his time last season behind seniors Charlie Raetzman and Coben Bourguet.

“He’s been a competitor for a long, long time,” Rogers said of Martinez. “He didn’t really get an opportunity last year to play much. He’s been waiting for this moment and he capitalized on it. I’m so proud of him and the effort.

“He’s one of our leaders, no doubt about it.”

Thomas said before the game that the game would be won in the trenches. Salpointe did not allow the Colts room to run and put constant pressure on starting QB Austin Grimm.

“Our D-line is dominant; they’re the best D-line in the state,” Martinez said. “They’re big and better than anyone.”

Buena finished with 227 yards, 50 of them through the air in the last two plays of the game. After Stemler’s completion to Taylor, he completed a 7-yard scoring strike to R.J. Armstrong as time expired.

Grimm, who had 446 yards passing in the first two games of his career playing the position, was shaken up late in the first half and did not return after seven incompletions.

Buena coach Joe Thomas and the Colts will try to pick up the pieces next Friday at Casa Grande (Andy Morales/AllSportsTucson.com)

“We scored there in the last minute with the third or fourth string so I’m not excited about that,” Thomas said. “We’ve just got to be able to execute. Offensively, it wasn’t good on our part. I called the offense so it was not good on me.

“I’m gonna do what I have to do. They better do what they have to do and we better come out and put on a show against Casa Grande (on the road next week, their fourth straight game away from Sierra Vista without a home game).”

The Lancers originally were slated to play at Marana next week but the Tigers had to cancel that game after gaining approval earlier this week from the Marana School District to go ahead with their season. They needed more time to prepare physically for a game.

Salpointe’s sideline celebrates one of five interceptions (Javier Morales/AllSportsTucson.com)

Salpointe scheduled a game at Campo Verde (3-1) to fill that void.

The Lancers were forced to make a change rescheduling Buena on Friday night after they were originally supposed to play Oct. 9. A Salpointe player tested positive for COVID-19 forcing a two-week quarantine of the team.

“Overall, I’m extremely pleased with their effort,” Rogers said of his team. “The kids, they were just champions during that two-week break. They handled themselves with first class.

“The coaches did a phenomenal job preparing them. Honestly, we have to get ready to go to Phoenix now. Now we have to strap it on and play with the big boys.”


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.

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