Takeaways From Sag-U & Chaptown

The rivalry did not disappoint.

In what turned out to be a 38-24 win for Saguaro, both teams had some impressive highlights. Let me start with this: Rivalries like this are good for Arizona high school football. It was a great idea to bring the rivalry back last year and the two matchups since the return have not disappointed.

I think this game painted a good picture for what both teams need to do to continue their growth and momentum.

For Saguaro, they need to clean up the penalties and mistakes. After the game, Jason Mohns told his team he was disguisted with the lack of discipline throughout the game. There were multiple personal fouls on both teams throughout the game, some were called on some of the players I mention below, and a few I also didn’t think were necessary. Saguaro knows it has one of the most talented groups in the state, and they’ll focus on limiting the mistakes that could prove costly in games later in the season or in potential Open Division games.

For Chaparral, they need to continue to get healthy. They were without quarterback Jack Miller and tight end Jack Helsten. Wide receiver Tommy Christakos, safety Ben Eddleblute and defensive end Jaxon Richards have all missed time too. Young players have stepped up, specifically Friday night, but focusing on getting to full strength will be the priority for them moving forward.

Here are a few observations from the latest Scottsdale Slugfest:

Kelee Ringo – Ringo has shown us time and again his incredible athleticism on the gridiron and the track, but I was able to see some things we don’t often get to when it comes to the Saguaro cornerback: the ball in his hands and a pass thrown his way. The first resulted in multiple long touchdowns and opened up some zone read options for Tyler Beverett to tuck and run. The second resulted in an interception. Maybe the schools in his final five should take note and have an offensive formation ready for him when he steps on campus?

Brayten Silbor – I walked away very impressed with how the Firebird sophomore quarterback played in one of his first starts against one of the best defenses he’ll face in high school. He didnt blink and made some very impressive throws. The Chaparral offense will be good hands while Jack Miller is out due to injury and beyond.

Quintin Somerville – It’s crazy to think Somerville is a 2021 player because we’ve seen him play for three years now. Tonight it was clear the jump he’s made as a defensive end from last year. He was able to get in the backfield multiple times and was in the middle of multiple gang tackles against the run.

Tommy Christakos – The wide receiver made his season debut tonight and was still limited due to injury, but man, did he still make an impact. He notched a field goal, a receiving touchdown, and a passing touchdown all in the first half. Looking forward to see how Cal utilizes that versatility in the coming years.

Matt Polk – Polk left the game early due to injury, but he helped spark the offense a bit with a big catch and run in the first half. He has developed into a matchup problem and I think is one of the more underrated players in this 2020 class.

Ben Eddleblute & Kamdan Hightower – The Chaparral safeties made multiple plays throughout the night. It seemed like Eddleblute spoiled multiple Saguaro deep passes and Kamdan Hightower has a distinct honor: he is the only Arizona player to intercept Tyler Beverett in a game since the Saguaro signal-caller took over starting duties last year. 

Will Shaffer – When looking at how valuable a player is to team, Will Shaffer has to be among the top for all he does for Saguaro. He was making plays all over defensively. He’s been one of the featured running backs, a role more crucial than usual while Israel Benjamin is out with injury. I also saw him firsthand set the tone for the Sabercats’ offseason 6 a.m. workouts. ASU was very wise to be his first Power 5 offer because he is going to bring all of that to Tempe over the next few years.

Chaparral O-line – This is a young group, center Brian Groeger is the only senior along the line, but it was clear improvements had been made since seeing them in Zero Week. In most cases, they gave Silbor plenty of time to make his read and throw. If they can continue to take those steps, the Firebird offense will really find a rhythm.