Do not let the score fool you for one moment, Friday night’s game between the Saguaro High School Sabercats and the Higley High School Knights was a single game with two different storylines.
At the end of the first half, the Sabercats led only 14–9, but found their second wind en route to the 49–15 win.
“We made a couple of mistakes early and they had a good game plan,” said Saguaro Head Coach Jason Mohns.
One of the mistakes came in the second quarter when Higley Quarterback Mason Crossland found Receiver Cooper Jones, resulting in two 40-plus-yard receptions.
“Just blown coverage, just really poor communication. We checked to a coverage and the coverage didn’t get echoed across so we had half the field on one coverage and the half the field on another coverage,” said Coach Mohns.
Despite the effort, Higley could not match the physicality of Saguaro and were outscored in the second half 35–6.
“We came out the second half and did what we do best and that’s outmuscle teams,” said Running Back Stone Matthews.
Higley found themselves in a hole quickly as a failed pooch kick to start the second half and failed fake punt attempt gave Saguaro good field position and the Sabercats pulled away quickly to a 28–9 lead.
“We kind of screwed ourselves,” said Higley Head Coach Eddy Zubey.
Saguaro would find the end zone on all of its possessions in the second half. Quarterback Max Massingale, who went 15-of-19 throwing the football, again led the offense for the Sabercats.
He and Matthews combined for 249 of the Sabercats’ 297 rushing yards.
Late in the game, the Sabercats went to Running Back Josiah Bradley, who found the end zone three times on five touches to help put the game out of reach.
“Josiah is a great back. He’d probably be every other team’s starting running back in the state and we had a really nice one-two punch with him and Stone,” said Mohns.
The Sabercats also found a late spark in the offense with senior wide receiver Jacob Christofferson, who came in after Receiver Logan Pettijohn exited the game with a rolled ankle.
“I thought it was a pretty good performance from the offense tonight and the defense stepped up. I was really proud and it was a really good game,” said Massingale.
The Sabercats look to their next bout against the St, Mary’s Knights Friday, Sept. 16, as they look to go 4–0 and extend their winning streak to 16.
Editor’s note: Mr. Toft is a journalism student at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism at Arizona State University