Salpointe Catholic running back Bijan Robinson breezed 48 yards through the Glendale Cactus defense on the game’s second play and never looked back, as the Lancers cruised to a 49-14 win in Friday’s Class 4A state quarterfinal game.
The Lancers (11-1) will face top-seeded Peoria Sunrise Mountain in next week’s state semifinals. The winner will advance to the Dec. 2 title game at Arizona Stadium.
Scoring from distances of 48, 28 and on a four-yard swing pass, Robinson propelled his team to a relatively stress-free playoff win.
“All five of the dudes on the O-line, those are the dudes that set it up perfectly,” Robinson said.
“When they set it up, I just find the hole, find the crease and just break it.”
Robinson was one of a host of Lancers that made life miserable for the visiting Cobras. Mario Padilla and Langston Hampton created too much versatility for the Cactus defense to handle. Up the middle, off the edge and reverses were all part of a dominating performance by a Lancers team that seems to be playing its best football of the season.
Salpointe’s defense was just as good, forcing three turnovers in the first 2ƒ quarters. Cactus running back Demaria Norris, who entered the game with 1,827 yards, was often bottled up.
“We focused in on him all week and we just knew we had to get all hats on the ball,” senior linebacker Chris Aguirre said. “They have a great team, but we knew Norris was basically their main player. ... If we shut him down we knew we’d get the ‘W.’”
One of those turnovers came on a strip by linebacker Arturo Alcaraz and recovery by defensive end Zander Alvarado, who scooped it up and ran it back 25 yards for the score. The Lancers led 49-0 at halftime.
“I just liked our balance,” Salpointe head coach Dennis Bene said. “I thought our kids executed really well and we’re fortunate to be moving on.”
Cactus finally got on the board with just under nine minutes remaining in the game on a run to the end zone by Norris from three yards out.
The visiting Cobras saw their season come to an end with a 9-3 record.