Salpointe, Centennial Punch Title Game Tickets

Two teams with championship pedigree will be playing for the gold ball on Saturday, December 2nd at Arizona Stadium in Tucson.

In the 4A division, the 4th-seeded Salpointe Lancers made the trip from Tucson and proved unfriendly guests running away from top-seed Sunrise Mountain 49-27 at Ironwood High School in Glendale.

The Mustangs started quickly behind a pair of Keegan Freid touchdown passes early in the first quarter but Salpointe never looked rattled and quickly seized momentum when sophomore star running back Bijan Robinson scored from 60 yards out leading to 21 unanswered points and a lead they’d never relinquish.

Robinson ripped off a number of chunk plays on the ground and Salpointe took advantage of several key Sunrise Mountain miscues in the second half to coast to an easy victory.

The Lancers will face four-time defending state champion Saguaro next.

Meanwhile just west at Peoria High School, the Liberty-Centennial sequel lived up to the advanced billing as the Coyotes’ defense stiffened late and secured a 42-37 victory and birth in the 5A state title game against Notre Dame Prep.

In front of a standing room only crowd, the two teams played to a 21-21 halftime tie before the Centennial defense made just enough plays against Liberty’s talented senior quarterback Ryan Bendle to secure the win.

The game also served as a bit of revenge after Liberty made a late comeback in the regular season to knock Centennial from the ranks of the unbeaten.

Senior running back and Boise State commit Zidane Thomas again paced the Yotes’ ground attack rushing for nearly 300 yards with his aggressive style and trademark stiff arm.

“There were runs out there tonight where he looked almost possessed,” long-time Centennial head coach Richard Taylor said. “He ran really hard.”

Centennial will look to erase their close 5A state championship loss to Williams Field last season.