4A state championship: Saguaro makes history with five championships in a row

Saguaro quarterback Max Massingale (4) fights through a host of tacklers en route to the end zone during the 4A state championship at Arizona Stadium in Tucson.. (Independent Newsmedia/Josh Martinez)

Tucson — For the length of the 2017 season, winning five state championship was on the mind of the Saguaro High School football team.

Accomplishing that feat would mean the Sabercats would become the first team to do that in Arizona history.

The Saguaro student section cheers on the Sabercats during the 4A state championship game at Arizona Stadium in Tucson. (Independent Newsmedia/Josh Martinez)

On a mostly cloudy Saturday, Dec. 2 in Tucson, in a stadium that has had many top University of Arizona football moments, the Sabercats made their own history and won their fifth consecutive title.

Not only did they win five straight but they won their 11th overall title and 10th since 2006 all with a 28–7 win over Salpointe Catholic High School.

Throughout the season, many in the Saguaro community referred to this season as the “Drive for Five.”

Now that the Sabercats have reached that peak, Head Coach Jason Mohns said he’s had a lot of time to think about winning five in a row and it’s been humbling for him.

“When you take a step back, it’s hard to do,” he said after the game. “We’ve beat a lot of really good, very deserving teams over the course of the last five years and we just kept finding a way to do it.”

While this year’s team celebrated a state title, linebacker Connor Soelle said the fifth consecutive state title doesn’t only represent the 2017 team.

“It represents every team before us,” he said after the game. “We all understood that and we wanted to get that done for Saguaro and all of the alumni as well.”

Saguaro captains Max Massingale (4), Ruben Pimbert (68), Josiah Bradley (34) and Giovanni Miranda (6) hold hands and head to the center of the field for the coin toss prior to the 4A state championship at Arizona Stadium in Tucson.. (Independent Newsmedia/Josh Martinez)

Since the streak started, the Sabercats have only lost five times, two of which were to out-of-state opponents this year.

The last time Saguaro lost to an Arizona school was in 2015 to Pinnacle High School. Since that loss, the Sabercats have ripped off a 37-game winning streak against in-state opponents.

Over these last five years, Saguaro has outscored opponents 3,278 points to 1,080 points, working out to the offense scoring about 47 points per game and the defense allowing a little more than 15 points per game. Saguaro has also posted 14 shutouts over the past five years.

Playing for that legacy caused receiver Logan Pettijohn to say there was a lot of pressure on the 2017 team’s shoulders.

“I’m just happy we came out with the win and we did it for everybody else,” he said after the game.

Many of this year’s senior class were a part of those past championships but at the Arizona Interscholastic Association’s Nov. 20 media day, tight end Giovanni Miranda said the state championship during a player’s senior year is the best one because it sends those seniors off from high school on top.

But this win and its significance is not lost on the younger players on the team either. The majority of this year’s defense were not seniors.

Soelle said this year’s win felt amazing because he didn’t do as much last year when he was a sophomore.

As the Sabercats head into the offseason, they will now look to further their dominance over Arizona by winning six in a row and Coach Mohns said he has no plans on slowing down.

Saguaro Head Coach Jason Mohns lifts the 4A state championship trophy as his team celebrates winning the state championship final at Arizona Stadium in Tucson. (Independent Newsmedia/Josh Martinez)

News Services Reporter Josh Martinez can be contacted at jmartinez@newszap.com or at 623-445-2738

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