Bene on running the ball: “I’m really thrilled and really surprised.”
Christopher Whitcomb/azcentral sports

On a cool night in Glendale, the top-seed in 4A, Peoria Sunrise Mountain, faced fourth-seeded Tucson Salpointe Catholic with an appearance in the state championship game on the line.

Early on, Sunrise Mountain took control, scoring two touchdowns in the first eight minutes for a quick 14-0 lead.

However, Salpointe found its footing with its running game.

First, the Lancers got a 60-yard touchdown run from Bijan Robinson. That sparked a string of 21 straight points for the Lancers.

The Mustangs were done in by turnovers and defensive lapses in the second half, which led to an eventual 49-27 victory for Salpointe. 

Standout performers

Salpointe running back Bijan Robinson: The sophmore stud stepped it up for his team after they trialed 14-0. Robinson had runs of 60, 54, 26 and 20, all in the first half. He continued his success in the second half with an additional 10 carries and ended the game with over 200 yards on the ground.


Salpointe running back Mario Padilla: Feeding off his fellow running backs’ success, , Padilla ripped off touchdown runs of 54 and 60 yards to ice the game. Padilla finished the game with more than 175 yards on the ground.

Stat of the game

Despite the hot start for Sunrise Mountain and quarterback Keegan Freid, turnovers were their downfall. In the second half, Freid fumbled the ball twice in the red zone and three times overall.

Quote of the game

Despite a slow start, Salpointe coach Dennis Bene knew the importance of staying patient.

“They don’t call plays but (my assistants) were feeding me information and where like coach it’s there. Just be patient (and) stay with it and they were right on.”

Up next

Salpointe Catholic will carry this victory into the state championship, where they will meet Saguaro on Dec. 2 at the Arizona Stadium.


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