“I think we’re a good team so I’m looking forward to a game and most likely getting a win,” said offensive lineman Matteo Mele about Salpointe Catholic’s opponent, Sunrise Mountain.

Fourth-seeded Salpointe Catholic has advanced to the Class 4A state semifinals, where they’ll take on No. 1 Peoria Sunrise Mountain Friday at Glendale Ironwood High School.

The Star spoke with Chris Aguirre, the Lancers’ top defender and the Kino Region Defensive Player of the Year, and Washington-bound offensive lineman Matteo Mele.

Here’s what they said:

What are you looking forward to most about playing top-seeded Sunrise Mountain?

Aguirre: “They’re faster than any team that we’ve played and it’s a Phoenix team … There’s always something between the Tucson and the Phoenix teams, so we’ve got to go out and make a statement against them.”

Mele: “They got a lot of publicity in being a good team and I think we’re a good team so I’m looking forward to a game and most likely getting a win.”

What was it like being named Kino Region Defensive Player of the Year?

Aguirre: “I have a great defensive line so they make it easy for me to get all of the tackles and it’s been a good year. I’m happy.”

Why did you commit to Washington as opposed to UA in your recruitment?

Mele: “When I got up there for my first visit to Washington, of course it’s such a great program and I knew that before I got there. Everything clicked when I was there, the campus, the city of Seattle, the coaches, everyone so I couldn’t not make that decision.”

What’s it like blocking for Bijan Robinson, your star running back?

Mele: “It’s great. Bijan is one of those players where you can make a mistake and everyone will think you did your job well, because Bijan scores a touchdown. He’s so dynamic and explosive, it’s crazy.”

What was it like setting the school record for most shutouts in a season?

Aguirre: “It’s special and it’s nice to have the record, but really what we’re going for is the state championship. It was nice to have the record and that looks good on our whole defense, but we’re not done yet. We’re looking for a state championship.”

Sports producer

Justin writes stories and produces digital content about UA football and basketball and high school football. A Tucson native, Justin graduated from the UA in 2017 and is the host of the Wildcast Podcast and a radio host on ESPN Tucson.