The Saguaro High School football team has finished No. 52 nationally for the 2014 season.
The announcement was made by MaxPreps, the online high school sports leader and a CBSSports.com site. MaxPreps ranks more than 16,000 high school varsity football teams.
Saguaro applied the finishing touches on a perfect 14-0 season with a 45-21 rout of Williams Field of Gilbert on Nov. 29, 2014 to claim its second straight Arizona Division III championship and its seventh over the past nine seasons.
Saguaro is one of 50 schools being honored on the 10th annual MaxPreps Football Tour of Champions presented by the Army National Guard. The Sabercats were also honored for the 2008 season when they were ranked 53rd in the nation.
“This is a huge honor. Obviously we have a great tradition at Saguaro winning seven state championships over the last nine seasons,” said Saguaro football coach Jason Mohns. “We were honored by MaxPreps in 2008 and that was considered one of the best teams in the country at that time. To be compared with that team now is pretty special to us.”
Christian Kirk, who will play at Texas A&M in College Station, Texas next fall, accounted for more than 2,800 yards in total offense for the Sabercats. He rushed for 1,692 yards and 25 touchdowns on 159 carries while catching 61 passes for 1,187 yards and another 17 TDs.
Senior Kamron Johnson gained 1,291 yards on the ground on 104 rushing attempts and tallied 20 TDs. Junior two-way performer Byron Murphy hauled in 65 passes for 1,348 yards and 13 scores.
Junior quarterback Karé Lyles completed 187-of-263 passes for 3,420 yards and 40 TDs against just five interceptions. Meanwhile, Lyles younger brother Kayden, a sophomore tackle, stood out on the offensive line.
Middle linebacker Skylar Seminara led Saguaro’s suffocating defense that allowed 13 points per game. Seminara had 86 tackles (12.5 for losses) and a pair of quarterback sacks.
Outside linebacker John Sells contributed 56 tackles (20 behind the line of scrimmage) and had a team-leading 10 sacks. Murphy made 53 tackles from his secondary spot while intercepting six passes and returning one for a TD. Nose tackle Domonic Natoli chipped in with 58 stops with 11 going for losses. All but Murphy are seniors.
Arizona Army National Guard Staff Sergeant Darryl Harriger presented Coach Mohns and the team with the Army National Guard national ranking trophy Friday morning at a winter pep assembly. The team also received a banner for their accomplishment.
“Much like the hard work, determination and teamwork of an elite athlete, so are the men and women of the Army National Guard,” said Major Mark Burns of the Army National Guard. “On behalf of the National Guard, I am honored to recognize this nationally ranked team for the commitment to something bigger than oneself — the commitment to a team.”
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