Saguaro Sabercats Heading To Playoffs

– By Catherine Hahne

Techno rave music booms through the speakers as the team pounds on the lockers psyching themselves up for the upcoming game.

This is the preferred method of revving up for the current undefeated and No. 3 ranked team in the state, the Saguaro Sabercat Varsity Football team. Over the past 10 seasons, the Sabercats have won six championships with hope this year will make it seven.

The Sabercats started this season with a bang by defeating their top rival, the Chaparral Firebirds, with a final score of 41-14. A goal for the team over the past three seasons.

Assistant Coach Frank Ruben said that the team had been working hard all summer for this win.  The seniors on the team had yet to beat Chaparral in a game.  All of that changed this year, which helped build camaraderie for the team.

“It was the confidence builder that they needed, it was the only game the team lost last year,” Jason Mohns, head coach, said.

Defeating the Firebirds was not a stopping point for them it just was a starting point. Winning the game was a validation of all the hard work the team had put over the past year. To achieve excellence you have to do more than just show up, training for the next season starts the day after fall season comes to an end, Frank said.

It all begins the players’ freshman year with a weeklong retreat in Flagstaff.  There they do a lot of challenge courses and focus on team building exercises. Every year the varsity team goes on its own retreat to keep the feeling of family.

“I always felt that this is where the team came together,” Alex Ruben, varsity linebacker alumn, said.  “It was a distraction free training camp and it was a great way to build better relationships with each other.”

The Sabercats consider themselves more than just a football team and closer to a family, which they attribute for a lot of their success.  There is a family concept that they foster and promote throughout the season with both the players and the coaches, Frank said.

The Sabercats have not always been a championship winning team and winning those six championships are products of their hard work and dedication.  In many ways Alex’s senior team started that winning tradition.

“I certainly think we did something special in 2006 and the younger guys built on that the following season,” Alex said.  “I’ll tell you that winning a championship is something that you fight for everyday.  It’s a goal you buy into.”

Ever since that championship season in 2006, there has been a winning legacy passed on to each team.  Seniors are proud to leave the team as champions handing off the torch of their traditions to the next group.

“I think we learned a ton from the teams that came before me,” Alex said.  “So by the time we were seniors we kind of put it all together, we bought into a goal and we were a unified program.”

There is an outstanding presence of senior leadership and an extraordinary senior class this year.  Many have been a part of a champion team before and are looking forward to the possibility of making their dream into a reality once again.  There has become a culture of winning within the group, Mohns said.

After adopting their slogan of ‘all in,’ the team members will work tirelessly to achieve their goals.  “It’s a commitment that requires more time and energy; it requires more than any other extra curricular activity,” Mohns said.

The playoffs will begin soon.  Saguaro won’t know who they will be playing until they receive their brackets. Because many of the team members have been to a playoff before, they know what to expect but are keeping their heads cool.

“Just take it one game at a time,” Alex said. “You may be a great team but you’re not a champion until you’ve won that final game and you get to hoist the golden football.”

Hard work and dedication is what has brought the Sabercats through this season.  It has become a school with a tradition of success.  One that Coach Mohns plans on maintaining this year.

“I don’t really know if there is a specific secret to our success, I think it really comes down to people buying into a purpose,” Alex said. “We had a lot of young talent, but I felt that year we relied on winning as a team and having great leadership.  We rallied behind the idea that we would do whatever it takes to win a championship and we would do it with no regrets.”

Catherine Hahne is a senior at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication. Reach the reporter at

Editor’s note: The Saguaro Sabercats will play Canyon Del Oro Friday, November 14, in Round 2 of the playoffs. Kickoff is 7pm at Saguaro High School. Learn more:

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