High school football
Tucson High snaps skid, tops Salpointe for the 1st time since 1993
Tucson High’s Tyree Pierson remembers leaving Salpointe Catholic last fall with a bitter taste in his mouth after a 14-point loss. He knew his team was capable of knocking off the mighty Lancers, who had just topped the Badgers for the 22nd straight season.
Pierson, a senior wide receiver, proved himself correct on Friday night, helping put an end to a brutal skid that began before he or any of his teammates were even born.
Senior quarterback Jorge Flores completed 11 of 24 passes for 202 yard and connected with both Pierson and fellow senior D.J. Hinton for touchdowns as the Badgers stunned unbeaten Salpointe 14-3 on the road, notching their first win against the Lancers since a 27-6 victory in 1993.
Sixth-year coach Justin Argraves was just 10 years old back in 1993, when the legendary Todd Mayfield was still at the helm.
“It’s a big win,” Argraves said. “It’s been the monkey on our back for a long time. These kids came out tonight and did a tremendous job. It wasn’t the prettiest game and there was a lot of things we’ve got to clean up but these guys performed.”
The biggest performance of the night may have come from Tucson’s defense, which forced five fumbles, limited Salpointe to 209 yards of offense and came up with a huge goal-line stand early in the fourth quarter.
“That’s huge,” Argraves said. “We’ve been asking our defense to do that all year. For them to come out and pull away with that, I think the momentum just shifted toward us.”
In reality, the momentum had already been with the Badgers since they went ahead 14-3 midway through the third quarter, when Pierson pulled in a 9-yard touchdown pass from Flores on fourth down.
“When I saw the play call for me I knew I had to get it,” Pierson said. “I just had to so I did what I had to do to get the touchdown. It was very big.”
Hinton, who transferred from Salpointe last year, also hauled in a pretty big catch in his return to Ed Doherty Stadium. Flores scrambled and connected with Hinton, who flew up the sideline for an 82-yard touchdown, giving the Badgers a 7-3 lead.
“It was a little awkward going to the other locker room,” Hinton said. “The mindset was playing our game and not worrying about the streak. I just came here to be the best teammate I could be and we came out on top today.
“It’s a blessing; it’s going down in history.”
Tucson High (3-1) nearly pulled off a win at Salpointe last season, before the Lancers pulled away late for a 38-24 victory. On top of that, Pierson remembers suffering losses to Salpointe as a freshman and sophomore on the lower level teams.
"They only beat us last year in the fourth quarter," Flores said. "We knew we had them."
Meanwhile, for Argraves, this marked the sixth meeting with longtime Salpointe coach Dennis Bene and it’ll surely be one of the most memorable wins of his career.
“I’ve got the utmost respect for coach Bene,” Argraves said. “He’s set the bar here in town; it’s an honor to be able to come out here and come away with the win.”