Sabino’s Jayson Petty, left, helped the Sabercats rebound from a slow start last year to advance to the state semis.

The Star is counting down the top football players in Southern Arizona in the weeks leading up to the season.

Today: Jayson Petty

The rundown: Petty is a 6-foot-3-inch, 220-pound senior wide receiver, defensive end and tight end at Sabino.

Who he is: For his final season, Petty has two personal goals in mind to get better: strength and speed. Along with that, Petty would also like to add a state championship to his high school accomplishments.

Last year, Sabino dropped its two games of the season (including the rivalry game against Sahuaro) only to win out over the remainder of the regular season and make a deep run in the Class 3A state playoffs.

The Sabercats ended up losing to Yuma Catholic in the semifinals. This year, Petty thinks the team can go all the way.

Besides chasing a state title, Petty said he would really like to continue building the team chemistry and focus on the friendships his senior season.

“Honestly, just getting all the guys together and making lifelong relationships,” Petty said.

Petty believes the team chemistry is already stronger than it has been the previous years he’s been at Sabino, and hopes that translates to the field once the season gets underway.

“We’re already together and everything’s going really well right now,” Petty said. “So, I think it’s going pretty good.”

Proof he’s good: As a junior, Petty was named to the 3A All-Conference first team. He finished the year with 554 yards on 42 receptions for 10 touchdowns. Petty also notched 41 tackles (20 solo) and 10 sacks. So far, Petty has one offer, from the University of Idaho, but is still talking with other schools.

He said it: “Petty’s been with our varsity program since he was a sophomore. My first year, I ended up calling him up as a sophomore just because he had natural play-making abilities from the time he stepped on campus and he was ready to go. He’s just grown into a leader, took things seriously in the weight room, couching up different guys — he likes to play a little bit, but once those pads come on he’s as serious as can be. We’re glad we have him on our team.” – Sabino coach Ryan McBrayer.

Contact reporter Norma Gonzalez at 520-262-3265 or ngonzalez@tucson.com.

Sports reporter

Norma started at the Star in 2017. She's a sports reporter covering all types of beats. She graduated from the University of Texas–Pan American in 2014 and recently graduated from the Associated Press Sports Editors Diversity Fellowship program.