After many years as head coach, countless games and now five trips to the state championship, four of which Cactus was runner up, coach Larry Fetkenhier finally brings home the state championship trophy. Cactus followed this seasons winning formula of efficient offense and swarming defense to make quick work of the Sabercats 30 to 7.
It did not take long for Cactus to set the tone for the 4AI State Championship game. After holding Sabino to three and out the Sabercats were forced to punt. The punt was shanked and the Cobras received the ball on Sabino's thirty-three. Setting the tone for the evening Richard Morris took the first carry sixteen yards. On his very next carry, Morris rumbled seventeen yards for the score. Ezra Ricks added the PAT, Cactus up early 7-0.
The second Quarter saw much more of Morris who unofficially had 120 yards rushing in the first half. Pinned on their own three, Cactus fed the 230 pound Morris five carries that he pounded into eighty-one yards, including a fourteen yard TD run. With the PAT Cactus was up 14 to 0. Late in the 2nd Sabino drove to the Cactus seven and on fourth and two missed a field goal off the upright. Keeping the score 14-0 going in at half.
In hopes on not repeating last years performance that saw them give up thirty-nine 2nd half points to Moon Valley, Cactus took care of business and stretched their lead to 23-0 by the end of the 3rd quarter. First, the Cobras scored on a twenty-three yard Ricks field goal and later Morris added his third touchdown of the night, this time a one yard plunge. The PAT hit the upright and was no good.
In the fourth, Morris scored his fourth touchdown to push Cactus to a 30 to 0 lead. With 3:21 left in the game, Sabino was able to get on the board as QB Justin Randall hit receiver Codi Harshman on a nine yard pass. But it was not enough. After the obligatory onsides kick, Cactus recovered and ran out the clock. Your final for the 4AI title Cactus 30 Sabino 7.
Bottom Line: Cactus has been dominant all season and for the last two seasons the Cobras are 26 and 2. Local fans have become accustomed to the Cobra O but what may have brought home the crown is a fast D made up of a combination of playmakers and solid performers. In the playoffs, the Cobra D surrendered only twenty points and for the season gave up less than six points a game. Tonight was no different keeping UofA bound Glyndon Bolasky in check. The only score Sabino could muster came late in the 4th.
Game Ball: With nearly 200 yards rushing and four scores Richard Morris was too much for the Sabino defense. Morris ran through and broke tackles all night. Congrats to Coach Fetkenhier and staff for bringing home the crown. This is a great tribute to one of the states most solid programs. Also, the Sabino staff and players should be commended. Early in the season, with back to back big losses to Sunnyside and Chaparral the Sabercats could have checked it in but rather stayed the course and made a strong playoff run.