A historic Arizona rivalry was renewed on Friday when the Saguaro Sabercats defeated the Chaparral Firebirds 45-37. This was the 39th time the two powerhouse programs went head to head, with the victory, Saguaro increased their edge in the overall series to 22-17.
The Firebirds struck early and quickly going up 14-0 on big plays from Running Back, Darvon Hubbard (Ohio St. Commit) and Wide Reciever Deavon Crawford. Hubbard sliced through Saguaros defense for a 53-yard touchdown run and Crawford scored on an 83-yard reception from the #4 ranked Pro Quarterback prospect in the country, Jack Miller (Ohio St. Commit).
Saguaros offense responded with 3 touchdowns in the 2nd quarter, getting big plays from Israel Benjamin, Matt Polk and Tyler Beverett. The Firebirds went on to score 17 of their own in the 2nd quarter but were dealt a blow when Hubbard checked out of the game with an apparent ankle injury. He would not return and finished the night with 9 carries for 114 yards and 2 touchdowns.
After 8 touchdowns scored in the first half between the two rivals, the defenses would tighten up in the second half. The Sabercats defense put pressure on Miller the Firebirds offense stalled being shutout in the 3rd quarter. Without the services of Hubbard, the Firebirds relied on backup Running Back, Jared Williams who ran well in the second half finishing with 144 yards and a touchdown on 11 carries.
The Sabercats offense scored 17 points in the 2nd half and felt on control of the game midway through the 3rd quarter. Beverett was efficient and productive finishing 17/23 for 350 yards, 3 touchdown passes and added 42 rushing yards. Polk made spectacular plays showing why he has offers From Florida and Arizona – the junior Wide Receiver had 5 catches for 115 yards and a touchdown. Beverett connected with Will Shaffer for 8 catches, 91 yards and a touchdown. Shaffer looked to be one of the best athletes on the field and came up big on critical plays – Head Coach Jason Mohns praised the junior playmaker after the game. Senior two-way player Connor Soelle (Arizona State commit) added 2 receptions for 128 yards.
The Sabercats offensive line played well in the passing and running game all night. They created big running lanes for Benjamin, the junior Running Back ended the night with 26 carries, 173 yards and 3 touchdowns – earning himself player of the game.
This game featured over a dozen potential Division I athletes, including some of the best in the country. The rivalry is renewed and the Saguaro Sabercats will look to use the momentum from this victory when they host Arcadia next week. After suffering their first loss on the season, the Chaparral Firebirds will host Mountain Ridge next week.
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