MARICOPA — Coming off a close loss to Waddell Canyon View, Maricopa knew it had to make a couple of adjustments and had to fix some mistakes before taking on 12-time state champion Scottsdale Saguaro. Maricopa couldn’t keep up in a 70-14 loss.

Maricopa was down two of its key starters on the offense due to injury as freshman Cassius Campbell made his first varsity start in place for Cipriano Childers. Running backs Kevin McIntosh and Steven Forester took over the carries for Mister Chavis for the second straight week.

The Rams were able to move the ball on the Sabercats to start the game, but their first drive was deflated by a penalty that forced Maricopa to punt it over to Saguaro. The first play for the Sabercats ended up being a 76-yard touchdown pass from Ridge Docekal to Mason Davies.

On the next possession for the Rams, they couldn’t get anything going against the Sabercats defense, so they had to punt it away. Then, on the second play of the Saguaro drive, Maricopa’s Caden Cross came up with an interception and returned it for a touchdown. The Rams would be the first team to score on the Sabercats in the 2020 season after Saguaro shutout Brophy College Prep.

After the pick-six, Saguaro would score 21 unanswered points including a pick-six of their own, but the Rams wouldn’t go down without a fight, as Campbell found Zion Morgan in the end zone for a 4-yard touchdown to make it 28-14 before the first quarter ended.

“I thought we played well in the first quarter,” Maricopa coach Brandon Harris said. “We had some guys that were injured, and the players we had out today played well. We competed, but it got away from us. It’s alright though, we’ll get better from this as it was a good experience to play a team we are trying to become.”

Once the second quarter started, the Sabercats started to push ahead. Saguaro ended up scoring five touchdowns in the second quarter with two of them coming from pick-sixes. Heading into halftime, Maricopa was trailing 63-14 and a running clock was installed for the second half.

It was a quiet second half, as Saguaro’s Jacob Pickett scored the lone touchdown between the two teams. The Sabercats kept the Rams in check as they finished with a total of 161 yards on 48 offensive plays, while Saguaro gained 455 yards on 27 plays.

“We made a few mistakes,” Harris said. “We had a lot of young guys out there that held their own. Once we’re healthy, I think we can build off of some things that we did today. We were just overmatched, but the main thing is to piece it all together right now when we get everyone back.”

Harris knows all about the Sabercats football program as he helped put the first championship on their wall in 1995. Saguaro has been able to get their players to go to colleges through their football as this year they have many kids committed to play at the college level and others still getting recruited.

“It started three years ago to build a program like Saguaro,” Harris said. “No one here has put kids in college through football, but three years ago we made the playoffs and we put eight kids that year and four kids last year on college rosters.”

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