Goodyear Desert Edge is currently rated as the fourth-best Class 4A team in the state.
Bijan Robinson is better.
Salpointe Catholic’s senior running back rushed for a school-record 430 yards and six touchdowns on 13 carries last week as the Lancers beat Desert Edge 68-34. Both single-game records were previously held by, well, Robinson from last season.
Just two games into the 2019 season, the Texas-bound back is creeping up on state records for running backs. Robinson needs just 360 yards to surpass former Canyon del Oro standout Ka’Deem Carey for career yards, and 537 to become Class 4A’s all-time leading rusher. Arizona’s all-time career rushing yards leader, for all divisions, is former Phoenix Northwest Christian running back Casey Jahn. Robinson is 2,202 yards away from tying Jahn’s record.
Robinson is the Star’s high school player of the week. He joined the Star’s Justin Spears on ESPN Tucson earlier this week to talk about the win and where the Lancers stand heading into a bye week:
How were you able to rush for 430 yards and six touchdowns against a solid Desert Edge team?
A: “The gift that God has given me, it really does show, but the biggest part to that game was the (offensive) line. They were creating holes and I made things happen when they created space at the second level. With what the defense was giving us, we found out their scheme pretty early as you can see by the result, it went pretty good. … This is the strongest we’ve been in the three years that I’ve been here. We know what it takes to get to a championship. We know we have to do good and make it. Our senior class, we just have to keep the young guys going, and it’s looking pretty good right now.”
Was the win over Desert Edge a message to the state?
A: “It definitely was. That’s what we wanted the state to see. We’re not playing this year. I know we lost the last three years to the same team, but now there’s The open division, and we’re trying to let the state know we’re coming and we’re not messing around. Coming into the Desert Edge game, we were fully prepared and they had some Division I athletes, but that didn’t really phase us. We just went out there and produced.”
Now that the Lancers are 2-0, what’s the state of Salpointe Catholic football?
A: “I’m liking things a lot. We have a lot to learn. I’m not saying we’re the best team out there. We’re just trying to keep growing as a team. Team chemistry is a big part in what we do. … The conditioning pays off. That was a big reason why we won the Desert Edge game. We were so much more conditioned than they were.”
Your coach, Dennis Bene, announced that he will retire after this season. When you’re no longer a Lancer, how will look back on the man who coached you in high school?
A: “He was the reason why I went to Salpointe. I wasn’t sure where I was gonna go to high school. Just him as a person and how he represents himself. … When you get to talk to him, you know he’s a real dude. He’ll help you through life, through football, through whatever you need. During recruiting, I wanted to see how college coaches were like him. How he is as a person and as a coach, he’ll be hard on you sometimes, but it’s tough love. And he’ll make sure to give you a hug before you leave the field. I can call him as another father to me, because of what he’s taught me over the years. He’s a big part of Salpointe and my life.”