Salpointe Catholic struggles on the road against Saguaro

It was a rough night for the Salpointe Catholic Lancers as injuries took a toll on the team in the 49-21 loss to the Saguaro Sabercats. Offensively, the Lancers struggled to get things going while the defense had trouble tackling and making reads.

“Listen, I challenged the kids tonight and they’re playing their guts out. They’re just bigger, stronger and faster than us. That’s the bottom line, and we’re not as good as we think we are,” head coach Eric Rogers said. 

Salpointe received the opening kickoff and ended up being forced to punt just a minute and a half into the game. Saguaro, highly-motivated coming into the game following an upsetting loss last week, plowed down the field and into the end zone in just five snaps. With 8:18 left to go in the first, Saguaro was up 7-0.

It was a quick three and out for Salpointe once again, and Saguaro had excellent field position for the next drive. Two snaps later and 34 yards, the Sabercats were up 14-0 with exactly 6:00 remaining in the first. 

Just when it seemed Salpointe’s offense was starting to find a bit of a rhythm, flags forced the Lancers to punt away the ball yet again. The Sabercats went on the prowl, attacking the ground game hard. Saguaro opened up the second quarter with a 3-yard touchdown run to take a 21-0 lead with 10:40 left before the half. 

Once again it looked like Salpointe might be able to string something together, but the Sabercat defense got the best of the Lancers once again, forcing them to punt. Saguaro was able to slow things down a bit and run some time off the clock on the next drive, mixing things up between the run and the pass. With just 4:50 left in the half, Saguaro was able to make it 28-0.

Salpointe was determined to get on the board before the half, and by attacking the run, they were able to drive down the field and score. The touchdown came on a two-yard run from Anthony Wilhite, making it 28-7 with just under 30 seconds left in the half.

Opening things back up, Saguaro received the ball and was able to eat away a significant amount of the clock before finding its way into the endzone once again to extend the lead. With 6:43 remaining in the third, the Sabercats were leading 35-7.

Salpointe seemed to start clicking a bit more and were able to score with 3:18 left in the third on a touchdown from Treyson Bourguet, making it 35-14. However, Saguaro wanted to take full advantage of the Lancers’ struggling defense, putting up another touchdown to extend the lead to 42-14 with just over a minute and a half left in the third. 

The Lancers tried to capitalize on the dwindling time, but ultimately were forced to punt at the start of the fourth quarter. The Sabercats then were able to slowly but surely progress down the field to score one final touchdown of the night, making it 49-14 with 7:19 remaining. 

Saguaro actually could have broken into the 50s if it weren’t for a fumble recovery by Elias Roberts. After a fumble in the backfield, Elias was on it, picked it up and ran it nearly 40-yards back for a touchdown to make the final score of the night 49-21.

It was a rough night for the passing game, as Bourguet was zero for eight on the night. The Lancers were forced to rely solely on their run game, where they racked up just around 200 yards. Wilhite was the offensive workhorse of the night, accounting for a majority of the team’s offensive production on the night. 

“Tonight’s performance was not our best, but I can’t really be mad at what happened just now. It’s all execution. They obviously were coached better and worked harder than us,” Wilhite said. 

Wilhite said defensively, he feels the team didn’t come out with the same intensity they show at practice. He said not only did they miss a lot of open tackles, but they also came out with a little stage fright. 

Coach Rogers gathered the team on the field after the game, where he discussed with the players the importance of a good week of preparation leading up to a game. 

“We’ve got to get back to how we prepare in the weight room, with nutrition, all of that and do that for a full week and see what happens next Friday night,” Rogers said. 

There were quite a few injuries in the game for the Lancers, which is something Rogers is concerned about moving forwards into the game against Pinnacle next week. 

“First and foremost, we’ve got to get healthy. We lost a lot of bodies tonight,” Rogers said. 

The Lancers will host the Pioneers (1-3) at home next week and Rogers says they’ve got a lot of hard work ahead of them both as coaches and as players to get ready to face a bigger and more experienced football team. 

“We don’t have a whole lot of time to feel sorry for ourselves. We’ve got to lick our wounds, get healthy and we’ve got a great Pinnacle team coming in to play us next week,” Rogers said. 

Brittany Bowyer is a freelance journalist who started her career as an intern for a small sports website back in 2015. Since then, she’s obtained her master’s degree in Sports Journalism from the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism at ASU and is in her fourth year of covering various levels of sports across a broad range of platforms in Arizona. You can follow her on twitter @bbowyer07

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