5A STATE CHAMPIONSHIP: NO. 2 SALPOINTE (11-2) VS. NO. 1 HORIZON (11-2)
Salpointe — Eric Rogers (18-3, second year at Salpointe and second year overall).
Horizon — Andy Litten (11-2, first year at Horizon and 47-30, seventh year overall — including 36-28 record at Marana from 2012-17).
RELATED: AllSportsTucson.com’s Brittany Bowyer’s article on Salpointe’s perspective of making it to the state title game.
WHEN SALPOINTE HAS THE BALL:
Run percentage: 62.9 (428 rushes)
Pass percentage: 37.1 (252 passes)
Senior quarterback Treyson Bourguet has evolved into more of a dual quarterback this season for coach Eric Rogers passing for 1,908 yards while completing 140 of 230 pass attempts with 29 touchdowns and only three interceptions. He has shown a good burst of speed and athleticism rushing for 563 yards on 82 carries (6.9 yards a carry) with nine touchdowns. The Lancers incredibly have used 18 receivers this season. The top four are junior Gage Felix (32 catches for 480 yards and six touchdowns), senior Dylan Dreis (31 catches for 472 yards and seven touchdowns), senior Michael Aguirre (28 receptions for 364 yards and three touchdowns), and Antonio Martinez (19 receptions for 294 yards and two touchdowns). Anthony Wilhite III, a senior, has continued Salpointe’s tradition of highly productive running backs rushing for 1,454 yards on 231 carries with 18 touchdowns. The next in line are juniors Dailan Goodman (487 yards on 65 carries with five touchdowns) and junior Elias Roberts (37 rushes for 231 yards and three touchdowns). Horizon, coached by former Marana coach Andy Litten, is led defensively by senior strong safety Landon Smith with 90 tackles. Another senior safety — Kamron Faraji — tops Horizon with nine sacks and 10 quarterback hurries. Horizon generally brings consistent pressure tallying 35 sacks. Senior cornerback Ethan Tinsley has four interceptions and the Huskies have 18 interceptions overall.
When Horizon has the ball:
Run percentage: 54.2 (368 rushes)
Pass percentage: 45.8 (311 passes)
Litten was known at Marana for his wide-open four-receiver-set passing offenses engineered by quarterback Trenton Bourguet, Treyson’s brother who is now the No. 2 quarterback at Arizona State. Senior Skyler Partridge, an athletic 5-foot-10 and 175-pound quarterback, has thrown for 2,279 yards while completing 177 of 286 pass attempts with 30 touchdowns and nine interceptions. He is a dual threat rushing for 640 yards on 72 carries with seven touchdowns. His top target is junior Cole Linyard, who has 62 catches for 759 yards and 10 touchdowns. Two other players have more than 500 yards receiving — senior Chase Jung with 43 catches for 594 yards and six touchdowns and junior tight end Matthew Klopfenstein (a Division I prospect with scholarship offers from Arizona and ASU and many other Pac-12 schools) with 43 catches for 562 yards and 10 touchdowns. Wesley Lambert, a junior, provides balance to the offense with 1,551 yards rushing on 227 carries with 15 touchdowns. Salpointe’s defense is loaded with college prospects with leading tackler Joey Sumlin, Kevin Sumlin’s son, a force at middle linebacker. He leads the Lancers with 86 tackles, six for loss, and he has three interceptions. Defensive end Elijah Rushing, a sophomore who has offers from Arizona, Utah, Washington and ASU, has 71 tackles, nine for loss (7.5 sacks), and his brother Cruz Rushing, a senior free safety, has 69 tackles. Damian Coley, a junior at the opposite end of Elijah Rushing, recorded the game-clinching sack last week against Desert Edge. He has seven sacks this season. Senior linebacker Davian Miranda-Carrasco, who also had a sack on Desert Edge’s last possession, has 5.5 sacks this year. The defensive backfield is solid with Martinez, a senior cornerback tallying six interceptions (including a pick-6 against Desert Edge) and junior cornerback Jaxson Greene (who has scored touchdowns on interception and fumble returns this season). Greene left last week’s game in the first half with an injury and did not return. His status for Friday’s game is to be determined. The Raetzman brothers — junior Conner, a linebacker, and senior Cody, a safety — have combined for 97 tackles, six for loss. Salpointe has 15 interceptions this season.
Cienega: Salpointe beat the Bobcats 30-22 on the road Sept. 16 and Horizon defeated Cienega 45-21 two weeks ago at home in the first round of the 5A state playoffs.
Scottsdale Saguaro: The Lancers lost at Saguaro 49-21 on Oct. 1 and Horizon was beaten by the Sabercats 48-23 on the road Oct. 22.
Phoenix Pinnacle: Salpointe defeated Pinnacle 28-21 at home on Oct. 8 and Horizon beat Pinnacle 17-16 in the season opener at home Sept. 3.
This is the first meeting between the schools. Salpointe’s program started in 1952 and Horizon in 1980.
Salpointe — One (2013) in five state championship appearances.
Horizon — One (1994) in two state championship appearances.
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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