State: No. 1 Salpointe Catholic trounces No. 9 Mingus, 62-22
TUCSON — Top ranked Tucson Salpointe Catholic’s barrage of big plays was too much for Mingus Union football in the state elite eight.
The Lancers (12-0) defeated the Marauders 62-22 in the 4A state quarterfinals at home.
“It’s a very good football team that we lost to,” Mingus head coach Robert Ortiz said. “They’re fast, we tried to put our kids in the best situation to be successful, they just came up short. Our team’s been resilient all year, they did a good job of fighting up until the end. They did their best to be as resilient as they could but at some point you run into that team and that’s how the story ends.”
Salpointe had touchdowns of 36, 65, 31, 46, 17 and 52 yards. The Lancers gained 468 total yards, 404 on the ground.
Their last loss was in 2017 to Scottsdale Saguaro in the state championship game.
“I’m really pleased with our effort. I thought the kids played hard, flew around to the ball,” Salpointe coach Dennis Bene said. “They’re a very well-coached football team, they do some things really well and just thought our kids handled the night really well, just good execution.”
Salpointe junior running back Bijan Robinson, who has received offers from schools like Alabama and Oklahoma, tallied 259 yards on nine rushes, 28.7 yards per carry and scored four touchdowns.
“He’s special no doubt, I thought the o-line did a nice job controlling the front but Bijan had a really special night and he can make you look really smart, play calling,” Bene said. “All in all it’s just a really nice effort.”
The Lancers jumped out to a 35-7 lead in the first quarter.
“We just came out a little slow, we laid down to a team we shouldn’t have laid down to,” Mingus senior quarterback Antoine Zabala said. “We just didn’t execute, the scoreboard doesn’t reflect the talent of this team.”
Senior receiver/defensive back Chaz Taylor had 12 catches for 166 yards and scored 30-, 15- and 17-yard touchdowns.
“Chaz has always been a hard worker He’s always been one of the elite fighters of this group,” Ortiz said. “When he has a night like that I think it shows what his potential really is.”
Mingus senior running back/defensive back Alex Nelson ran for 41 yards on 15 carries. Zabala was 21-for-33 for 223 yards passing with three touchdowns and one interception.
Salpointe faces No. 5 Tucson Sahuaro in the semifinals at Marana Mountain View at 7 p.m. Friday, Nov. 16. The Cougars defeated Chandler Seton Catholic Prep 63-19 in the quarterfinals.
Since a Southern Arizona team will reach the state championship game, it will be held at Arizona Stadium at the University of Arizona. If a Southern Arizona team did not make to the title game, it would have been at Gilbert Campo Verde.
James Kelley is a reporter for The Verde Independent. Follow him on Twitter at @jameskelley520. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 928-634-2241, ext. 6035.