Citizen Staff Writer
SALPOINTE CATHOLIC 55 MESA 28
TUCSON CITIZEN SPOTLIGHT GAME OF THE WEEK
Salpointe Catholic High School coach Dennis Bene got just what he wanted from his team Friday night.
The No. 3-seeded Lancers beat visiting Mesa High 55-28 in the first round of the Class 5A Division I state tournament, getting scores from their offense, defense and special teams.
“It’s a great victory. Mesa’s kids are really tough, and they play until the whistle,” Bene said. “We just needed to be in a more physical game. The kids haven’t been in a real, real physical game for a few weeks and it’s exactly what we needed.”
The Lancers host No. 11 Mesa Red Mountain at 7 p.m. Friday in a quarterfinal game.
“We’ve still got to cut down on mistakes and we’re glad we got another game at home,” Bene said. “We have to improve on what we didn’t do so well.”
After Mesa tied the game at 7 in the second quarter, Salpointe used a 28-point outburst to take a 35-7 lead at halftime.
Jacob Llamas put the Lancers up for good with a 19-yard pass from Trevor Eggleston to make it 14-7. Salpointe’s next three touchdowns came via defense or special teams:
• Ty Harmon had a 34-yard punt return for a score.
• Sean Craig recovered a fumble in the end zone.
• Joe Sayre returned an interception 10 yards for a score.
No. 14 Mesa (6-5) had a strong third quarter, scoring two touchdowns to cut the lead to 35-21. But Salpointe responded with 20 points in the fourth quarter to put the game away.
Eggleston had a big night, throwing for three touchdowns and passing for 246 yards. He completed 18 of 22 passes.
“It was great,” he said. “The third quarter wasn’t what we wanted it to be, but we stuck it out and came out with a win.”
Llamas caught six passes for 110 yards for Salpointe, while Christian Ramirez ran for 64 yards and two touchdowns.