Salpointe Catholic is the 14th large-school Southern Arizona program since 2009 to make the state semifinals.
Here’s a look at how past teams have fared:
Ironwood Ridge: To have a shot at beating Peoria Centennial in the championship, the No. 3 Nighthawks beat No. 2 Tempe Marcos De Niza 35-21 in their third consecutive semifinals appearance and fourth since 2008.
The top-seeded Lancers (12-2) lost to No. 4 Centennial 28-14 at Amphitheater High School but have not lost since that night.
Cienega: In the state semifinals for the third straight year, the Bobcats finally broke through to the state finals with a late rally to beat I-Ridge 24-21 and improve to 13-0. However, Cienega suffered its first loss of the season the following week to Scottsdale Chaparral.
Ironwood Ridge: The No. 6 Nighthawks were up 14-0 early but lost to No. 2 Cienega 24-21.
Sabino: The top-seeded Sabercats snapped an 11-game winning streak when they lost to No. 5 Scottsdale Saguaro 49-27, the eventual Division III champions. It was Sabino’s 13th semifinal appearance and fourth since 2005.
Canyon del Oro: The top-seeded Dorados won their 27th straight game when star running back Ka’Deem Carey scored a go-ahead touchdown with 38.1 seconds left in the game but snapped the streak with a 41-34 loss to Scottsdale Saguaro in the 4A-I state championship.
Cienega: Running back Willie Willis put the Bobcats up 24-14 with a 74-yard touchdown run late but Cienega lost 28-24.
Ironwood Ridge: The No. 7 Nighthawks fell down 14-0 two minutes into the game against No. 3 Centennial but kept it close before losing 38-28 in the 5A-II semifinals.
Canyon del Oro: Although they were held scoreless in the first half, the top-seeded Dorados showed how dominant they were by scoring 41 points in the third quarter on their way to a 48-16 win over Cienega. The following week, CDO dominated No. 7 Sabino 40-0 to win its third state title and became the 16th Southern Arizona team to go undefeated at 14-0.
Cienega: The No. 4 Bobcats were leading undefeated CDO 3-0 at the half but lost 48-16.
Sabino: To reach the state finals for the ninth time in school history, the Sabercats beat No. 3 Scottsdale Saguaro 28-6. Sabino won state titles in 1998, 1992 and 1990.
Santa Rita: The Eagles knocked off top-seeded Cottonwood Mingus 24-14 to reach the state finals for the second straight year. There, No. 5 Santa Rita lost 14-0 to No. 2 Glendale Cactus.
Palo Verde: The No. 3 Titans lost to second-seeded Cactus 34-14 in the 4A-II semifinals. It was Palo Verde’s third semifinal appearance in school history.
Jason Harris, Arizona Daily Star