Salpointe’s 5A title quest ends with 38-28 loss to Horizon

TEMPE — Salpointe Catholic must wait until next year for another quest for its first state championship since 2013.

The Lancers lost 38-28 Friday night to Scottsdale Horizon, coached by former Marana coach Andy Litten, in the 5A state championship game at Sun Devil Stadium.

Salpointe (11-3) has finished runner-up in the state in 2017 and 2018 and now this season.

Horizon (12-2) won its first state championship since 1994. Litten, in his first season with Horizon, coached the Huskies to their first state title game appearance since 1995.

After a frustrating first half in which Salpointe fell behind 21-0 at halftime, the Lancers came on strong in the second half and the game became the shootout everybody expected.

Anthony Wilhite scored on a 17-yard run with 6:27 left in the third quarter, and when Horizon was forced to punt in its next possession, Joey Sumlin busted through the middle of the line and made the block that resulted in Damian Coley recovering the ball in the end zone.

The touchdown cut Horizon’s lead to 21-14 with 5:20 left in the third quarter.

Horizon quarterback Skyler Partridge proceeded to direct Horizon on a drive that resulted in an 8-yard touchdown pass to Chase Jung on the last play of the third quarter. The play increased the lead to 28-14.

A fumble by Salpointe on its next possession resulted in a 28-yard field goal by Grady Gross with 8:41 left to put the Huskies ahead 31-14.

Salpointe cut the lead to 31-21 with 6:46 remaining on a 36-yard touchdown pass from Bourguet to Gage Felix.

Partridge, a 5-foot-10 speedster, responded with a 38-yard touchdown run with 4:20 remaining.

He completed 25 of 33 pass attempts for 278 yards and three touchdowns. Cole Linyard caught 15 passes for 159 yards.

Bourguet drove Salpointe down the field quickly with a couple of long passes to Felix and he capped the drive with a 1-yard touchdown run to cut the lead to 38-28 with 2:40 remaining.

Horizon was able to run out the clock after gaining a couple of first downs.

Salpointe senior Antonio Martinez and Jace Springer celebrate their successful careers with the Lancers one last time with the fans roaring their approval (Javier Morales/AllSportsTucson.com)

Bourguet and Wilhite capped their Salpointe careers with productive performances.

Wilhite rushed 19 times for 121 yards and a touchdown. That does not include a 65-yard touchdown run he had in the first half that was called back because of a block-in-the-back penalty.

Bourguet completed 16 of 27 passes for 202 yards with a touchdown. Felix, a junior, was his primary target catching 10 passes for 130 yards.

Salpointe’s inauspicious start included punts on its first three possessions. Horizon’s offense also struggled until Partridge completed a 17-yard touchdown pass to put the Huskies up 7-0 with 22 seconds left in the first quarter.

On Horizon’s next possession, Partridge completed a 66-yard catch-and-run touchown pass to Ethan Tinsley that increased the margin to 14-0 with 10:34 left in the second quarter.

Salpointe looked like it could seize some momentum back on a 65-yard tourchdown run by Wilhite, but the play was called back because of an illegal block. That was tough for the Lancers to swallow because they eventually had to punt.

Horizon again scored with 1:18 left before halftime on a 1-yard run by Wesley Lambert to take a 21-0 lead.

Bourguet managed to get the Lancers to the Huskies’ 23 following a couple of long runs to set up a 40-yard field goal attempt, but it was off the mark.

Bourguet felt pressure from Horizon’s front, including tackle Daniel “Boobie” Santiago, who has a scholarship offer from Arizona.

He completed 4 of 12 passes for 31 yards in the first half and was sacke. He had 40 yards rushing on four carries by halftime and finished with 52 yards on nine rushes.

Partridge was 13 of 16 for 175 yards with two touchdowns at the half while Lambert had 74 yards rushing on 15 attempts.

Lambert finished with 143 yards on 33 carries with a touchdown.


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

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