PHOENIX — The Salpointe Catholic Lancers finished the regular season in 6A with a record of 8-2 following a 14-12 loss to the Brophy Broncos on the road Friday night. It was a back-and-forth battle until the end as both teams were fighting for the 6A Central region title.
“Everybody said for a Southern Arizona football team, this was the hardest schedule maybe in the history of Southern Arizona football,” Rogers said. “For us to finish the season 8-2, I’ve gotta be very, very proud of those kids and our coaching staff. Everything they’ve accomplished and the adversity they’ve been through, they’re just gutsy.”
For Salpointe, the loss is going to sting a bit, and Coach Rogers told them it’s okay for them to feel it.
The Lancers had a chance to win it until the very end, when a fumble on the snap was recovered by Brophy with just seconds left on the clock.
“We knew this was going to be a four-quarter battle, heavyweight fight,” Rogers said. “Brophy did a great job, their coaching staff and their kids. Hopefully we’ll get a shot to get them again in the playoffs.”
Salpointe was able to get on the board first with 1:28 left in the first quarter with a field goal from Kyah Francone, giving the Lancers the early 3-0 lead.
On Brophy’s following possession, Armani Sheriff was able to pick off the quarterback and return the ball for 34 yards, giving the Lancers some momentum. Continuing to move the chains, Salpointe capped off the drive with a 1-yard touchdown pass from Taylor Nagore to Isaac Moyle. The extra point attempt was no good, making it 9-0 with 8:50 left before the half.
On Brophy’s following possession, the punt was blocked by Keona Wilhite, setting up the Lancers for another 35-yard field goal from Francone with 5:33 left in the second quarter.
Brophy wouldn’t be shut out in the first half, though, as Charlie McGinnis was able to connect with Daylen Sharper for a 29-yard touchdown pass. The kick was up and in, making it 12-7 Salpointe going into the half.
Coming back out of the half Salpointe had possession of the ball first but was unable to do anything with it, ultimately punting it away. Brophy was able to answer with the final points of the night coming on a 25-yard touchdown pass from McGinnis to Ryan De Koning.
Salpointe would then have multiple opportunities to try moving the ball down the field again but to no avail, as the Lancers started shooting themselves in the foot by racking up the penalties. A prime example was when the Lancers had the opportunity to kick a field goal for the lead, but a false start pushed them out of range and forced them to punt the ball away instead.
Their issues with penalties is something Coach Rogers says they’ll need to address before the playoffs and will be a major focus for them at practice this week.
“We’ve gotta be more fundamentally sound, we’ve gotta take care of the football,” Rogers said. “We’re gonna have to practice with a really good tempo, hard this week… We’ve just gotta really mix up what we’re doing practice wise to get them ready.”
The Lancers are now waiting to see where the chips fall when it comes to the playoffs. While they don’t know their final ranking yet or who they’ll face, they do anticipate having a home game for the first round of the playoffs.
“We should have a home playoff game and that will be fantastic for our seniors,” Rogers said.
The AIA will release the final rankings along with the playoff brackets tomorrow morning on during their live show beginning at 8 a.m.
“We’ve got a gutsy, gutsy group and I’ll take them any day of the week,” Rogers said. “We’re not done, we’ll get back in the weight room tomorrow, get to work and find out who we play on Thursday. We’ve gotta go win a game. We’ve gotta go 1-0 each week now.”