Salpointe over Desert Edge 23-17 to advance to the 5A state championship game

December 4, 2021 by Andy Morales, AZPreps365

Christopher Cordero takes a hand off from Adryan Lara. (Andy Morales/AZPreps365)

Down 23-17 with 7:14 left in the semifinal match at No. 2 Salpointe, the No. 3 Desert Edge Scorpions drove from their own 18-yard line to within striking distance but a sack from Davian Miranda Carrasco on third down was followed by another sack from Damian Coley and the game belonged to the Lancers with 2:40 left. The Lancers were able to run the clock down the rest of the way and Treyson Bourguet hit Dylan Dries from 30 yards out for the 29-17 final score as the clock expired.

The victory sends Salpointe (11-2) to the 5A state championship game against No. 1 Horizon (11-2) next Friday, Dec. 10 at 8 p.m. Sun Devil Stadium will play host to the 4A title game between No. 1 Poston Butte (11-2) and No. 2 Casa Grande (12-0) at 4 p.m. as part of a double-header that night.

Horizon held on to beat No. 4 Desert Mountain 28-24 to set up the championship with Salpointe. The Huskies suffered first-round playoff exits in three straight years from 2017 to 2019 and the program went 3-3 in the COVID year in 2020. Salpointe, on the other hand, has now played in six straight semifinals dating back to 2016. That run includes championship appearances in 2017 and 2018 and two straight Open Division semifinal finishes in 2019 and 2020. This Friday will mark the third championship appearance for the Lancers since winning it all in 2013.

The Scorpions have also seen some success in recent years including a spot in the Open Division last year and a 4A state runner-up finish in 2019 but the team came up short at Salpointe even though the game started out promising with Andre Gibson returning the opening kick 64 yards but the Lancers were able to force a turnover on downs to negate that run.

Bourguet put Salpointe up 7-0 with 7:01 left in the first on a 1-yard reach over on the ensuing drive and then Gibson returned the next kick 75 yards only to have the Lancers force another turnover on downs. Those two missed opportunities proved to be costly down the stretch but Christopher Cordero tied things up 7-7 on a 46-yard run on another fourth down play in the opening seconds of the second quarter.

The Scorpion defense came alive and a Salpointe punt was followed by a 51-yard strike from Adryan Lara to Vinny Mansfield and Desert Edge led 14-7. Bourguet turned around and hit Anthony Wilhite from 3 yards out but a blocked extra point gave Desert Edge a 14-13 lead at the half.

Cordero rushed 22 times for 128 yards in the loss and Lara went 17 for 29 for 144 yards with TD but an interception returned for a TD after the Lancers hit on a 20-yard field goal put Salpointe up for good at 23-14 with 6:40 left in the third. The interception was the sixth of the year for Antonio Martinez.

The Scorpions connected on a field goal of their own to cut the Lancer lead down to 23-17 and a Salpointe punt set up the final drive for Desert Edge. Bourguet rushed 11 times for 70 yards with a TD and he went 7 of 9 for 147 yards in the air with another TD. Wilhite rushed 31 times for 143 yards.

The initial conference placements for football will be released on Dec. 17 and schools will have until Dec. 21 to appeal those placements. With all four of the top seeds advancing to the semifinal round for each conference, it’s almost a sure bet that the top teams will stay put, especially at the 5A level.

Treyson Bourget and Anthony Wilhite. (Andy Morales/AZPreps365)