Salpointe Catholic steam-rolled its first 10 opponents this season by an average of 44.4 points a game.
Friday night was no exception.
The top-seeded and host Lancers (11-0) plowed through Yuma Cibola 54-7 in the first round of the Division II playoffs.
Salpointe will host No. 9 Peoria Liberty on Friday with a chance to reach the state semifinals for the second year in a row. The high-scoring Lions upset Mountain View for their fifth straight win.
Salpointe’s Cameron Denson had yet another stellar game in his storied prep career with six catches for 96 yards to go along with touchdown receptions of 9 and 38 yards. Denson now has 1,036 yards on the season and 13 receiving scores.
The two-way star also contributed on defense with a 25-yard interception return for a touchdown at the end of the first quarter.
However, he did not take the No. 16 Raiders lightly.
“We knew they were the 16th seed for a reason so we couldn’t underestimate them,” Denson said. “We had to come out and execute really well.”
When asked if the playoffs bring added pressure, Salpointe coach Dennis Bene shrugged off the idea and emphasized staying focused.
“We’re going to just keep doing what we’re doing,” Bene said. “We have a very good football team, a hard-working staff, and we are just going to take it one game at a time.”
Senior quarterback Andrew Cota was back on the field for Salpointe on Friday night after sitting out the last two game from disciplinary reasons.
He showed no rust, completing 14 of 19 passes for 176 yards and three touchdowns, despite sitting out nearly the entire second half along with most of Salpointe’s other starters.
“It’s exciting, but at the same time we can’t get ahead of ourselves,” Cota said. “We just have to focus on one game at a time and not get big-headed.”
Salpointe, which led 47-0 at the half, did not allow Cibola to get on the board until the fourth quarter.