With a rare chance to make a statement in front of a national audience, Salpointe did exactly that and more.
The Lancers, a Division II state semifinalist last year, needed only four offensive plays to take a 14-0 lead over Henderson (Nev.) Liberty on Saturday night on their way to a 48-7 win in the second game of the Sollenberger Classic at Bishop Gorman High School in Las Vegas.
“I couldn’t be more proud of my team, it was an all-around victory,” Salpointe coach Dennis Bene said. “When we were invited I said yes right away because regardless of the outcome, I thought it would be a great experience. And with the outcome, we’re very proud to represent Salpointe and Southern Arizona.”
Senior quarterback Andrew Cota accounted for all six of the Lancers’ touchdowns in the first half and fellow senior Kaelin Deboskie, a transfer from Colleyville (Texas) Heritage, caught three scores in the first quarter of his debut with the Lancers.
“We got off to a quick start like we thought we needed to,” Bene said. “Andrew was very accurate and made some really good decisions. He and the recievers made some nice adjustments.”
Cota hit Deboskie on the second play from scrimmage for a 70-yard touchdown to set the tone early in a game that was estimated to have 25 million households tuned in across the country.
Then, after Santiago Nietto blocked a Liberty field goal attempt, Cota needed only two more plays before he found senior UA commit Cameron Denson open for a 75-yard touchdown to put the Lancers up 14-0 early.1
That was only the beginning of a bad night for the Patriots, who lost to Bishop Gorman in the Nevada state championship last year.
After a Liberty three-and-out, Cota hit Deboskie for another touchdown to cap off an 11-play scoring drive. He connected with Deboskie for a 31-yard score on the second play of Salpointe’s next possession to give the Lancers a commanding 28-0 lead with 1:24 left in the first quarter.
Salpointe slowed its offense down in the second quarter but Cota ran for a 1-yard score and hit Denson for a touchdown with 2:35 left in the half.
While the offense was the big story of the night for the Lancers, their defense limited the Patriots to a just a few big plays and took advantage of several miscues.
“I thought we played fast and tackled really well,” Bene said. “They were very physical and I thought our defense played very physical and I’m very happy with their effort.”
Salpointe will return home to face Sabino at home on Friday.