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Is Saguaro really the underdog?

Posted by on November 7, 2012 – 5:27 pm

The Saguaro football team has won state championships in five of the past six years. It began 2012 as the preseason No. 1, and though the team is 8-3, two of those losses came to higher-division defending state champions and the other in the season opener without five starters.

Nevertheless, the Sabercats hit the road for the Division III quarterfinals as a No. 9 seed staring down a matchup with top-seeded Desert Edge. The Scorpions don’t have the same tradition as Saguaro, but went 11-0 this season and knocked off a pair of quite capable teams in Thunderbird and Liberty.

So I asked Saguaro coach Jason Mohns how he felt about it.

Are the Sabercats still the favorites that many believe? This is a team many still expect to win it all, and it has two of the best players in the division in quarterback Luke Rubenzer and wide receiver Christian Kirk. Or are they the underdogs? Desert Edge’s tough defense shut out a potent Liberty team and the offense has a capable running back and a pair of star wide receivers.

He believes it’s the latter:

“They way we look at it is: We’re 8-3, the 9 seed, and we’re facing the No. 1 seed,” Mohns said. “If you’re trying to say we have an advantage? I don’t know if you’d be right about that. I don’t think you can sit back and say we’re in the driver’s seat.”

John Sanders was infamous for rallying his troops by playing the underdog card, and Mohns seems to be following suit. There is a case to be made that Desert Edge could have the better team, but no one will be surprised if the Sabercats win this one.

The most concerning thing for Saguaro came in the regular season finale loss to Chaparral, when the Firebirds slowed down the potent Sabercats offensive attack with a ton of quarterback pressure and impressive coverage in the secondary.

It’s a recipe Mohns figures to keep seeing, but he said the team has learned quite a bit from the loss.

“It’s honestly the best thing that could have ever happened to us,” Mohns said. “We hadn’t really been stopped all year, and you could see it in the kids’ eyes that they were frustrated. So I was a little worried. After something like that it can go one of two ways: It can burst your bubble and you can go into the playoffs limping, or you can learn from it. We evolved as a team from Week 10 to Week 11 pretty drastically.”

It’s going to be an interesting result either way. Saguaro’s only loss in the past seven postseasons came in the 2009 semifinals to Sabino, and Desert Edge may have the pieces to send the Sabercats home early again.

But Saguaro, an underdog? Probably not.

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  • power I says:

    There is a reason the Scorpions are 11-0. The fact that the game is at DE means something. Saguaro has not proved they could stop a good running game and their offensive line has not proved they can handle the likes of Tui. I predict the Scorpions will send Saguaro home like a bunch of scolded dogs.

  • jdig says:

    Saguaro will win by 20 tonight. Desert Edge has not played anyone.

  • football prophet says:

    Desert edge will win this game by 17. Elijah marks can not be guarded by any corner in the state. Just because desert edge has not played a variety of high powered teams, they did play liberty and shut out a tyler rogers who was a high ranked qb in the state

  • a parent says:

    Saguaro beat up on the bad teams and lost to everyone of the good ones. I don’t see any coaching genius there. I think people are finally seeing the real Mohns. A reasonably good offensive coordinator but an empty suit as far head coach or anything else for that matter. Mohns was hired for his Argos youth pipeline but even that isn’t panning out as promised. The best kids are going to other schools because the stepford mommys finally woke up to see the light. It isn’t about their kid, it is about jason and his getting up the next rung of the ladder.

    Character matters Saguaro, your kids deserve better.

  • Da GdFather says:

    Odegard I think you got your answer to your question, neither team was an underdog. It was out and out slug fest, what I was happy to see is that both teams played with character and high sportsmanship.

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