The Sabino Sabercats proved once again that they are a big threat in the 3A South with an impressive victory over the visiting Safford Bulldogs on Friday night.
They dominated from start to finish on Senior Night after a bye week to beat the Bulldogs 49-14. The win pushes the Sabercats to 6-2 overall and 2-1 in 3A South.
The Sabercats close the regular season next Friday with a game at Sahuarita.
Isiah Aguirre and Levi Miranda each also had a running touchdown on Friday night for Sabino.
Sabino’s offense and defense were highly potent.
The Sabercats defense was able to create three turnovers and held Safford’s offense in check most of the game.
Sabino’s offense put up seven touchdowns, five of which came from sophomore quarterback Cameron Hackworth.
“We watched our film and we knew that these guys wouldn’t stand a chance with our high powered offense,” Hackworth said. “We got way more speed than them. They might’ve had the size, but we had the speed. We came into the week knowing what we were gonna do and we just executed it.”
Hackworth had two rushing touchdowns and three through the air, plus two successful two-point conversions.
He connected to Brian Winkle off of an out-route for the first score and then to Kenneth Blackman on a screen pass on his second.
“They go out there and they make their plays, you know,” said Hackworth, ”I trust every single one of my guys, I wouldn’t trade them for nothing. I throw the ball and they’re gonna go make the play for me.”
Nezayah Stubberfield started off Sabino’s strong defensive effort with an interception in the first quarter.
Sabino took advantage of a second turnover in the first half, this time from a bad snap during a punt play.
Winkle also stripped the ball from a Safford running back at the 45-yard line in the third quarter.
The Sabercats were three for three on touchdowns after turnovers.
“I’m excited for them. I think they might’ve earned themselves another playoff game here at home at Sabino,” said coach Ryan McBrayer, whose team will challenge for a top eight seed in the state playoffs and potentially play at home.
”It’s exciting, especially doing it in the region. I’m happy for them.”
Sabino’s first touchdown came 4:54 into the first quarter. Hackworth hooked up with Aguirre after Kamden Gambrell set them up at the 25-yard line on a long punt return.
After an interception by Stubberfield, Hackworth scored again, this time from a designed quarterback run from about 15 yards out.
After a 25-yard run score from Safford’s Christian Smith, the Sabercats marched down to the end zone in only two minutes. The drive was capped off by a Hackworth-to-Gambrell passing touchdown to make the score 20-7.
Sabino’s big first half wasn’t done there. After a bad punt by Safford, Sabino got the ball at their opponent’s 15-yard line. Aguirre finished the drive with a goal-line touchdown up the middle.
Hackworth completed a pass to Winkle on an out route to complete the two point conversion, bringing the game to a 28-7 score five minutes before halftime.
The Sabercats came out of the halftime break continuing to play well. Hackworth scrambled for a 60-yard touchdown to put his team up 34-7.
Sabino took advantage off of yet another turnover by the Bulldogs. Robert Maultsby of Sabino caught a screen from around 50 yards out and ran it all the way to their end zone to give his team a 41-7 lead after the extra point.
Sabino’s offense capped off their impressive performance with a long run from beyond the 50-yard line for one more touchdown. Miranda was the one who broke it off.
Hackworth completed the two-point conversion via a screen pass to Blackman to bring the score to 49-7 in the third quarter. The rolling clock was put into play after this last touchdown.
Both teams did not score after Safford’s last touchdown. Sabino ran the clock out to end the game.
The Bulldogs dropped their second straight game and are now 1-2 in the 3A South. They play at Thatcher next week.
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Nathaniel Martinez is an aspiring sports journalist who is a Sahuaro High School graduate and Pima Community College student. He has written for the Aztec Press at Pima. While at Sahuaro, he played football for longtime coach Scott McKee and he wrestled for the Cougars.