7 on 7
As the designated home team at Arizona Stadium, top-seeded Salpointe Catholic traded places with the Arizona Wildcats for the day and used their locker room and sideline.
UA verbal commit Kaelin Deboskie took the locker space normally used by quarterback B.J. Denker. Coincidentally, like Denker, Deboskie wears No. 7, so he fit right in.
To his left, fellow senior wide receiver Robby Wilson, No. 19, had the honors of sitting in Ka’Deem Carey’s spot for the day, even though they don’t use the same number.
Before Carey became an All-America running back with the Wildcats, he helped Canyon del Oro High School complete a 14-0 season with a 40-0 win over Sabino for the 4A-I state title in 2009.
That was the last state title game played in Tucson before Friday.
The Big Number
Until the Lancers fell behind 6-0 with just over seven minutes left in the first quarter for the first time this season, they hadn’t trailed for more than 628 consecutive minutes of playing time. But the deficit didn’t last long — Salpointe tied the game roughly six minutes later and took the lead less than a minute into the second quarter.
Touchdown with a capital ‘A’
Arizona fans got a preview of future Wildcats playing at their future stadium.
Deboskie, a 5-foot-9-inch receiver, scored two early touchdowns for the Lancers. Trevor Wood, a 6-6 tight end and punter for the Firebirds, was held without a reception in the first half, though he did have a 36-yard grab early in the third quarter.
But the main attraction is four-star receiver Cameron Denson, and he lived up to the billing. Denson scored his 30th touchdown of the season on a 97-yard reception late in the second quarter, which gave the Lancers a 26-6 lead.
On his way, he crossed the giant Arizona block “A” at midfield. Fitting.
“To me, he’s 10 times better at quarterback than I was, and I can say that proudly.”
– Jaime Cota, the older brother to Salpointe quarterback Andrew Cota, who led Sunnyside to the 4A state championship 10 years ago.
The “Dungeon” fills the Zoo
The UA played its last home game of the season last week, but the Zona Zoo was almost completely filled again on Friday. The section, on the stadium’s east side, holds 9,000 people, and Salpointe’s fan base — a.k.a. “The Dungeon” — filled it to about 80 percent capacity.
Chaparral, seated on the west side, had only about 30 percent capacity.
That two-hour drive from Scottsdale to Tucson might have something to do with it. You can get to Arizona Stadium from Salpointe in 40 minutes — walking.
Scottsdale Chaparral may not have had the biggest crowd at Arizona Stadium on Friday evening, but they had a banner that displayed the year for each of Chaparral’s six state titles, all of which have come since 1999, the most recent in 2011 against Cienega.
Scurran along the sideline
Jeff Scurran, the Catalina Foothills coach who turned the Falcons from an 0-10 mess to an 8-3 success, was watching the game from the sideline by the north end zone.
Scurran won three state titles as the coach at Sabino in the 1990s.
Jeff Casteel, the UA defensive coordinator, was also in the house, watching his son — senior linebacker Jake Casteel.
The younger Casteel is still undecided on college, but he’s a likely Division II-level prospect.