Salpointe Catholic fell to Scottsdale Saguaro in the 4A state championship game, losing to the Sabercats 28-7 at Arizona Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
The Lancers appeared to be building some momentum after a 99-yard kick return touchdown from Mario Padilla at the end of the third quarter. Early in the fourth, star Salpointe running back Bijan Robinson broke a 39 yard run to put the Lancers at Saguaro's 10-yard line.
After a botched snap on the next play, losing 14 yards, Salpointe couldn't convert and quarterback Rodrigo Nieto was sacked to give the ball back to Saguaro. The Lancers never recovered.
With the loss, Salpointe finished the season at 12-2.
Saguaro has now won 11 straight games against Southern Arizona, and last Tucson school to beat the Sabercats in the state playoffs was Sabino back in 2009.
Just as Scottsdale Saguaro appeared to be pulling away from Salpointe Catholic in the third quarter of the 4A state championship game at Arizona Stadium, Lancer running back Mario Padilla came in for the rescue.
After Saguaro went ahead 21-0, Padilla returned the ensuing kickoff 99 yards for a touchdown. The score gave Saguaro a 21-7 edge through three quarters.
The Sabercats took the initial three touchdown lead after an unfortunate end to a drive from Salpointe's offense.
Salpointe quarterback Rodrigo Nieto threw a pass behind receiver Derick Bush, but the senior adjusted back to the ball and caught it for a 31-yard gain to Saguaro's 30-yard line. On the next play, Nieto threw his second interception of the game and Saguaro quarterback Max Massingale proceeded to pick apart Salpointe's defense.
Massingale completed passes of 38 and 18 yards to Zach Wilson, capped by an 11-yard touchdown pass to receiver Logan Pettijohn.
The Salpointe Catholic Lancers fell behind Scottsdale Saguaro at halftime of the 4A state championship at Arizona Stadium, trailing the Sabercats 14-0.
After shutting down Saguaro in the first quarter, the Lancers were unable to contain the Sabercats on the quarter's opening drive, an 8-play possession that ended with a 36-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Max Massingale to a wide-open Logan Pettijohn.
On the next possession, Salpointe quarterback Rodrigo Nieto threw an interception on the drive's ninth play. Saguaro took over at Salpointe's 37 yard line and promptly completed a 22-yard pass on a trick play, thrown by receiver Zach Wilson to receiver Matt Polk.
After Massingale completed a 13-yard pass to Pettijohn, the quarterback scored on a one-yard touchdown run to take a two-touchdown lead.
After struggling in the first quarter, gaining zero yards on four carries, star Salpointe running back Bijan Robinson gained 44 yards on six carries in the second quarter.
Defense reigned supreme in the first quarter for the Salpointe Catholic Lancers in the 4A state championship against the Scottsdale Sagauro Sabercats at Arizona Stadium.
In the scoreless first quarter, the Lancers stopped a Sabercats drive that advanced pass midfield after Salpointe's Christian Vasquez tackled Saguaro running back La'Ray Lucas in the backfield for a 10-yard loss.
On offense, Salpointe advanced up the field after an impressive play from quarterback Rodrigo Nieto, who evaded a pass rush on third-and-long and found receiver Derick Bush down the field for a 28-yard completion.
The Lancers followed that up with a 11-yard flip to running back Mario Padilla, but then couldn't convert a first down. The drive ended with an impressive 45-yard punt from Padilla to Saguaro's four-yard line.
Salpointe star running back Bijan Robinson was held to zero yards on four carries in the first quarter.
The fourth-seeded Salpointe Catholic Lancers (12-1) look to win their second state championship in four years. However, Scottsdale Saguaro (11-2) is on the hunt for its fifth consecutive state title.
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🏆 The No. 4 Salpointe Catholic Lancers take on No. 2 Scottsdale Saguaro with the 4A state title on the line. Follow the action live from Arizona Stadium and join the conversation https://t.co/E6ptDfpj2k— High School Sports (@HSTucson) December 2, 2017