It was time for a new challenge for Saguaro High School (Scottsdale, Ariz.). From 2006-2018, the school had won 11 4A championships, including six consecutive from 2013-18.
At the upper three levels of Arizona high school football competition, one to two teams dominated each conference. The question was no longer if Saguaro was the best 4A school; the question had turned into whether the Sabercats were better than 5A schools like Centennial (Peoria, Ariz.) and Notre Dame Prep (Scottsdale, Ariz.), and if any of them could match 6A leader Chandler (Ariz.).
That opportunity to provide an answer was given in the creation of the Open Division. Saguaro and Chandler faced off in the first championship game in 2019, and the Chandler Wolves took down the Sabercats 42-35.
The Wolves won in 2020 as well, extending their championship run to five straight years between 6A and the Open Division.
On Saturday, Saguaro finally got to the top. The Sabercats (now 5A), who took down No. 22 Hamilton (6A) in the semifinals, beat No. 21 Chandler 20-15 to win the program’s first Open Division championship.
“We just took down the blue bloods of Arizona in back-to-back weeks,” head coach Jason Mohns said to the Arizona Republic, “and I’m pretty damn proud.”
Junior quarterback Devon Dampier threw two key touchdowns for Saguaro, hitting three-star athlete Javen Jacobs for a 24-yard touchdown with 17 seconds remaining the first half and then sophomore running back Jaedon Matthews for a 45-yard touchdown to take the lead with 4:25 remaining in the game. Senior Junius Marsh intercepted three-star Chandler quarterback Blaine Hipa to help the Sabercats clinched the game.
Dampier, who is rated three stars by 247Sports, finished the game 12-for-17 for 156 yards through the air and rushed for 129 yards on 22 carries.
Through his play and excellent defense that limited the powerhouse to just 15 points, Saguaro took down the reigning champs.
There’s a new best team in Arizona.