Saguaro punished mistake-prone McClintock in a 52-12 4A Desert Sky Region rout Friday at Saguaro.
The Sabercats (4-3, 2-0 region) scored on six of their first seven possessions, capitalizing on a pair of Charger punting miscues, three fumbles and an interception en route to a 45-0 lead at halftime.
“We came out and stuffed them pretty hard,” Saguaro linebacker Alex Ruben said. “It started from the first drive.”
That’s when Saguaro recovered the ball on the McClintock 9 after the snap flew over punter Darrel Rosenbaum’s head. The Sabercats scored when quarterback T.J. Rauch (4-of-6 passing for 70 yards) found receiver Ronnie Luko open for a touchdown on their very first play.
McClintock (5-2, 0-1) had to punt again on its second possession, and another bad exchange gave Saguaro the ball on the 17. Tyler Porras (17 carries for 132 yards) ran the ball in from 7 yards out three plays later.
“I didn’t know what to expect (from this game). I certainly didn’t expect that,” Saguaro coach Mike Reardon said. “When the fire started, (McClintock) couldn’t stop it.”
The Saguaro defense was stellar throughout the rest of the half. Ruben got the action started when he recovered the first of six McClintock fumbles and ran it in from the 22.
Defensive back Max Tabach recovered a fumble, stalling McClintock’s next drive. Defensive back Andrew Johnson intercepted quarterback Gavin Lemusu (16 of 29, 169 yards) on the next Charger possession.
McClintock showed signs of life with 7:02 left in the first half when Anthony Mason returned a kickoff 56 yards to the Saguaro 34. But two plays later, lineman Chris Merrill fell on another Charger fumble and McClintock couldn’t recover.
McClintock put together a pair of scoring drives in the second half. Lemusu hit Xavier Lucas on passes of 28 and 23 yards and found Tyler Hinchey for 11 during the Chargers’ first scoring drive in the third quarter. After a roughing the passer penalty, Lemusu rushed for 13 yards to the 2, and running back Devin Richardson carried it in, getting the Chargers on the scoreboard.
McClintock scored again when Lemusu found Lucas for a 14-yard touchdown with 6:52 left in the game.