back in the game after trailing 14-2 in the first half as
Mike Smith stomps over Salpointe defenders and heads to
the end zone for a third quarter touchdown, making the
score 20-16, Salpointe.
Lancers tough enough
Salpointe outlasts the Sunnyside Blue Devils for the Class
5A South title.
Not this time. Not at home. And especially not with the
defense of a regional title on the line.
The Salpointe Catholic football team held off a second-half
Sunnyside comeback attempt to win 27-16 in the Tucson Citizen
Spotlight Game of the Week.
Last night's victory gave the Lancers their fourth straight
Class 5A South Region title and revenge for losing at home to
Sunnyside in last season's opening game.
"We're very, very fortunate that we came out in a great
football game," said Salpointe coach Dennis Bene. "We're going
to the playoffs with great momentum. I know how (Sunnyside
coach) Richard (Sanchez) and those guys felt. I felt like that
"This thing's kind of going back and forth. We're just
fortunate to be on the top of it tonight."
Sunnyside (6-4, 4-1) and Salpointe (8-2, 5-0) should have
first-round home games in next week's playoffs. Sunnyside will
play in the 5A Division II playoffs, while the Lancers will
test their mettle in the 5A DI tournament.
The big difference between two of the city's premier programs
was Salpointe's ability to move the ball through the air.
The Lancers completed two fewer passes than Sunnyside, but
threw for 83 more yards to go along with two touchdowns.
Salpointe quarterback Max Fritz completed 7 of 12 for 142
yards, two scores and one interception. Despite finishing with
minus-7 rushing yards because of four sacks, Fritz still
scored twice on the ground.
"Hats off to Sunnyside. They played a great game against us,"
Fritz said. "My receivers were making catches and the line
gave me time to throw."
Salpointe led 14-2 at halftime after Fritz ran in a touchdown
from three yards out and connected with Mark Schneider on a
29-yard scoring pass, both in the second quarter.
The Lancers piled it on out of the gate in the second half.
Fritz found Matt Ransom up the middle for a 59-yard touchdown
on the sixth play of the third quarter for a 21-2 lead.
Sunnyside came rolling back three plays later as Mike Smith
broke free for a 55-yard touchdown run. The Blue Devils' next
possession nearly ended in a punt, but they recovered it after
officials ruled that Salpointe returner Levess Eafon touched
The Blue Devils took advantage of the call, scoring a few
minutes later on a 6-yard run by Smith.
Sunnyside, trailing by six, saw a late possession end when
quarterback Sammy Olivas was sacked by Eafon.
Eafon, who ran for 82 yards, finished with two sacks on
Salpointe took over with 4:48 left, and milked almost four
minutes off the clock before Fritz scored on a 1-yard keeper
to end the Blue Devils' hopes.
Smith finished with 152 yards and the two touchdowns to lead
Sunnyside. Olivas completed 8 of 17 for 59 yards, one
interception and was sacked four times.