The Saguaro football team (Scottsdale, Arizona) played the spoiler role last week. Now, the Sabercats hope to play the role of champions on Saturday when they face reigning six-time State Champion Chandler for the Arizona Interschool Association Open Division Championship at Sun Devils Stadium in Tempe.
Saguaro (11-1) shocked former No. 11 Hamilton (Chandler) 31-24 in the semifinals, upsetting what most thought was another open final between rivals Chandler City. Hamilton beat Chandler 21-14 to finish the regular season and both nationally-ranked teams circled a title date, just as they did in 2020 when Hamilton edged Chandler 23-21 in the championship game.
But the previous season, Saguaro faced Hamilton 20-16 in the semifinals before losing to Chandler 42-35 in a memorable league game in 2019. Those were the only times the teams met. This one’s supposed to be another shootout.
How to watch
When: Saturday, December 11, 5 p.m. MST
Or: Sun Devils Stadium, Tempe
Online broadcast: NFHS Network
A one-handed overtime touchdown by Nason Coleman followed by an interception in the end zone by Franky Morales sent Wolves to the final.
Meanwhile, Saguaro junior quarterback Devon Dampier had 204 yards and three touchdowns and Micah Lutu had seven tackles, two sacks and forced a fumble, leading the Sabercats to victory over Hamilton. Since coach Jason Mohns took office in 2012, Saguaro has grown into a regional powerhouse in the State and the West, recording a 113-15 record.
This season, they have outscored their opponents 508-179 averaging 410 yards per game, split almost evenly between passing (187) and running (410). Their only loss was 27-26 to Chaparral on September 24 and they have since won nine in a row.
Mohns has the luxury of using either Dampier, a transfer from Pinnacle, or quarterback Ridge Docekal to Idaho (1,577 passing yards, 13 TDs). The running game was split over several, but second student Jaedon Matthews leads the team with 958 yards and six scores. Javen Jacobs (55 catches, 878 yards) is the team’s top all-around athlete, while offensive lineman Parker Brailsford, linebacker Tristan Monday, Luta and Docekal are the team’s top senior prospects.
Chandler is led on offense by three-star quarterback Hipa (2,736 passing yards, 30 touchdowns) and receivers Quaron Adams (59 catches, 783 yards, six touchdowns), Coleman (46, 688, 10) and the top senior rookie of the Kyion Grayes team, a commitment from the State of Ohio
Chandler’s top prospects are Adams (Iowa State), Coleman (Princeton), defensive lineman Isaiah Johnson (Arizona) and cornerbacks Travis Roberts and Alfred Smith.