There are a few things you can come to expect this time of year: The heat is finally gone for good, people already starting to decorate for Christmas when it’s not even Thanksgiving and the Saguaro Sabercats are in the state championship game.
Over the last several years, the Saguaro defense from my perspective somewhat goes unmentioned. The incredible quarterback play from Teddy Ruben to Luke Rubenzer to now Max Massingale, the playmakers like D.J. Foster, Christian Kirk and Byron Murphy plus the endless list of division I offensive lineman.
While the offense is great yet again for Saguaro this season, you leave their games on friday nights just astonished by how well their defense plays. Their speed, size, length and aggressiveness is relentless to opposing offenses.
“This is arguably one of the best defenses that we’ve ever had,” head coach Jason Mohns told Sports360AZ after their 24-3 semi-final win over Salpointe Catholic. “In the five years I’ve been head coach, it’s definitely the best defense we’ve had…They play together, they swarm the football, they play physical.”
“We knew going into this year that we were going to have to win a state championship playing defense,” he added. “The offense is great, we want to score points, but we can win a grind it out game and I think we proved that tonight.”
“I don’t see a weakness anywhere on the defense,” mentioned senior linebacker, and ASU commit, Kyle Soelle. “We just fly around, we make big hits and make big plays.”
The numbers don’t lie. Saguaro hasn’t allowed more than two touchdowns in a game on defense since September and have only allowed 125 total points all year.
It is one thing to have a group of talented athletes, it is another to have them all buy in to play together. That is exactly what Saguaro has with this defense as they make their march for a fourth consecutive state championship win.
“We’re a brotherhood like every other team has been on defense but we just have a bunch of athletes who want to fly around and play with each other,” stated senior linebacker Brandt Casey who is now in his third year as a starter.
“We’re a family this year for real,” senior safety KJ Jarrell explained. “This team has been working hard since January and some of us have been playing together since sixth grade so we are a real team out here.”
So begins a week of traditions with Saguaro football. Every year the Saguaro coaching staff talks about “going bowling” and “practicing on Thanksgiving.” They have now achieved both goals as the coaches will be taking the team to the bowling alley on Wednesday night and will have a post feast practice on Thursday leading up to matchup with Catalina Foothills at University of Phoenix Stadium next Saturday.
“We’ve got to go through Tucson to get this thing,” stated Mohns. “I know our guys are excited. We’re going to get to go bowling, we’re going to get to practice on Thanksgiving and that’s what we’ve talked about dating back to last January.”