Sabino’s first Class 3A state playoff experience has been a positive one. That’s what happens when you win two games via blowout and draw a neutral-site semifinal game.
No. 5 Sabino faces No. 1 Show Low (12-0) on Saturday at 6:30 p.m. at Gilbert Williams Field in the final four of the 3A playoffs.
While this is Sabino’s (11-1) first playoff game away from home this season, it’s at a predetermined neutral site, unlike the 4A or 5A playoffs where the higher seeds play in their home city.
The other 3A semifinal precedes the Sabercats’ game, a similar experience to Sabino’s 2009 4A-I semifinal win over Scottsdale Saguaro at Phoenix Paradise Valley.
“We’ve seen this before,” Sabino coach Jay Campos said. “We’ll be able to get down there a little earlier, get some food and watch some of the other game, kind of get us in game mode, in terms of getting a feeling of what’s happening in the other semifinal game.”
Six Show Low players have rushed for more than 200 yards and four have over 389 receiving yards.
“They do a lot of things well, you can’t really key one or two particular people, they have a whole group of guys that can do a lot of damage,” said Campos, who has led Sabino to the semifinals five times.
Show Low quarterback Rhett Ricedorff ranks first in 3A in total offense with 2,733 yards passing and 384 rushing yards. Sabino senior and UA commit Drew Dixon is fourth with 1,042 passing yards, 851 rushing yards and 447 receiving yards.
Ricedorff is a senior captain and the coach’s son.
“They’re really well-coached,” said Sabino senior lineman Hayden Sauceda.
Sabino has won nine games in a row, outscoring opponents 456-54 during that span.
Last week Sabino beat No. 13 Winslow 48-0 in the quarterfinals. Show Low didn’t take it so easy against Winslow, beating the Bulldogs 21-6 in the final week of the regular season.
“We got an easier route I’d say, but it’s the semifinals and I think it’s going to be a good game Saturday,” said Sabino senior lineman Daniel Miranda.
While Sabino got to rest their starters much of the second half last week, Show Low edged No. 8 Yuma Catholic 28-26.
“That’s good from a keeping-your-legs-fresh standpoint, but we can’t think that because we won by large margins in the first two games that that’s going to have any impact in this game,” Campos said. “We can’t bring those points and carry them over.”