Three Sahuaro Cougars encircled Salpointe running back Bijan Robinson as he came back to catch the underthrown ball from quarterback Jackson Bolin.
The Texas commit leapt, his heels on the Sahuaro 1-yard line, knowing he was about to take his hardest hit of the night. He secured the catch, absorbed the blow, but his work wasn’t done. A quick pirouette, and Robinson extended the ball over the goal line with 1.4 seconds before half, stamping out any sliver of hope for Sahuaro in Friday’s 58-13 win.
“Wherever he threw it up, I was going to go get it somewhere,” Robinson said. “I felt it, and I knew I wasn’t in the end zone quite yet. So I just kind of launched into the end zone.”
Robinson finished with 206 offensive yards, 133 rushing and 73 receiving.
He had five touchdowns at halftime, leading to a 51-7 Lancer edge. The production was enough to give Robinson, at 5,927, the all-time rushing record for Classes 4A, 5A and 6A, breaking former Tolleson running back Marcus Thomas’ mark of 5,878 yards from 2000-02.
Robinson’s achievement was honored during a stoppage in the first half.
“He’s a tremendous athlete and very skilled obviously,” Salpointe coach Dennis Bene said. “But he’s so much about his teammates. There are a lot of talented kids, but he’s as fine a young person as I’ve ever been around, so I’m proud of him.”
Already shorthanded without top running back Isaiah Davis, who didn’t play for a second straight week with an ankle injury, Sahuaro’s offense suffered another blow when tailback Jamir Gasaway hobbled off the field with a chest injury on the Cougars’ opening drive.
With those two out, much of the offensive responsibility fell quarterback Devyn Roberts’s 5-foot-8 shoulders.
He guided the Cougars (6-1) on a 71-yard touchdown drive to cut the lead to 14-7 to end the first quarter. The Lancers (5-0) got plenty of hits on Roberts, even a few were flagged for penalties, but he just kept bouncing back up, undeterred.
“That kid thinks he’s 6-foot-5, 200 pounds,” Sahuaro coach Scott McKee said.
“That’s an old-school brawler. You can’t have nobody better.”
Once Salpointe stopped giving the Cougars free yards, the defense proved to be too much for the host to handle.
Safety Lathan Ransom blew up a play in the backfield, delivering an earth-shattering hit that forced Sahuaro running back Ahmad Hunter from the game for a few minutes. Ransom, an Ohio State commit, also had a 20-yard touchdown reception.
With a dominant answer to perhaps their biggest test so far, the Lancers have affirmed their position as one of the best teams in the state, regardless of class. They host Casa Grande next week, seeking that forever elusive goal, perfection.
“We’ve got to keep working,” Robinson said. “We’re not close to where we want to be. To try to get to perfection, that’s where we want to be.”
Sahuaro travels to Canyon del Oro next week.
CDO stayed unbeaten with a 34-21 win over Catalina Foothills on Friday. The Dorados visit Salpointe on Oct. 18 in what could be a matchup of unbeatens.
Salpointe has outscored its opponents 305-61 this season. Robinson came into the game with 993 rushing yards on just 39 attempts, an average of 25.5 yards per carry.
Sahuaro had come into the game allowing only 70 points in its first six games of the year.