(This will be updated as additional game stories are completed)
Saguaro offense takes flight in win over O’Connor
By Lucas Gordon
After scoring just 20 points combined in his first two games, Saguaro needed just three quarters to double that total on Friday night.
The Sabercats beat a scorching Sandra Day O’Connor 47-3. O’Connor came into the match after an upset win over Red Mountain.
Saguaro’s attack clicked from the first practice of the match. Senior quarterback Devon Dampier started the game with a 65-yard pass to sophomore receiver Dajon Hinton.
The next play Dampier broadcast it for a 10-yard touchdown to second Owen Pimbert.
Dampier continued to make plays in the first half throwing for three more touchdowns, including a second to Hinton.
The air wasn’t the only way for Dampier to show off his skills. Early in the second quarter, the quarterback used his feet for a 15-yard touchdown.
After playing just three quarters, Dampier finished the game with five total touchdowns and 243 yards through the air. Dampier also finished with 81 rushing yards.
At halftime, the game was already out of reach with the score at 27-3.
Dampier was clearly key on Friday, but Saguaro starting running back Jaedon Matthews rushed for 79 yards, including a 46-yard touchdown to open the second half.
Despite not forcing a turnover and only firing the opposing quarterback once, Saguaro’s defense has continued its strong season thus far.
O’Connor’s starting quarterback Cooper King didn’t complete a pass the entire second period. Saguaro’s defense also kept O’Connor’s offense within 200 yards the entire game.
Although he played his best game of the season, Dampier credits his teammates for helping his performance.
“It starts with the O line. I barely had any pressure that game. Just trusting them and being able to trust whoever was around me helped me a lot. We probably have one of the best receiving corps in the country, so it was easy for them to open up. It made my job easier.
Head coach Jason Mohns was happy to see his team on the right track ahead of a tough time.
“We felt like we needed to get our swagger back. It felt like Austin Powers was losing its mojo. You knew it was there, you just had to find it. It felt like we had found our mojo. It’s special.”
Saguaro (2-1) visits Chandler (3-0) next Friday at 7 p.m. in a rematch of last year’s Open Division Championship, won by Saguaro. O’Connor (2-1) visits Cesar Chavez (2-1).
Arcadia rallies to defeat Coconino
By Howard Schlossberg
Quintyn Isabell couldn’t be stopped and Thomas Guerrero was given the choice which was the game of the match as Arcadia (2-0) rallied from a 21-0 deficit to a 27-21 win Friday night at home against Coconino (1-1).
Trailing 21-0 at halftime, Isabell ignited the Titans with a 90-yard bolt, breaking tackles and staggering to stay in bounds as he finally put Arcadia on the board to open the 3rd quarter.
Arcadia had struggled on both sides of the ball throughout the first half but came out on fire to start the third quarter.
After Isabell ignited the spark, the two teams both shot a 180 after halftime.
After a sloppy punt, Arcadia secured field position and made it pay with a 4-yard TD pass from Braylen Rooney to Luke Mellen and it was 21-14.
After a breakaway recovery that cost Coconino position on the pitch, Arcadia scored again, this time off a one-yard Isabell dive to cap a 53-yard drive, aided by two penalties.
Enter Guerrero. The linebacker sniffed a flanker screen, picked it up, and sent it back to the Coconino 5. From there, Rooney’s perfectly placed fly ball into the left back corner was carried by Alex Alba.
It didn’t seem likely after Enoch Wilson completed 6 of 8 passes in the first half, one for a TD to Pierson Watson, and the Panthers earned a 48-yard TD dart from Quinn Mickelson building a 21-yard lead. -0 at halftime on an Arcadia team that could only muster 111 yards on total offense.
Also, Arcadia looked awkward as Bridger French blocked a punt after an errant snap and Noble Young-Blackgoat fell on it. in the end zone for a 14-0 lead.
After knocking him out of the park in the first half, Coconino was only able to gain 38 yards on total offense in the second half against an Arcadia defense that found itself.
Meanwhile, Rooney was going 7 of 14 for 92 yards and 2 touchdowns in the second half. And Isabell, well, he put in 90 meters of electricity, all in one piece.
The game was actually a tie in total attack, 245 for Coconino and 238 for Arcadia.
Head coach Ray Brown said Isabell “is so determined. Holy cow!”
“We had kids who stepped up,” he said of the overall effort. “We played football.”
Arcadia hosts Camelback next Friday and Coconino entertains Poston Butte.
Casa Grande survives Central to stay undefeated
By Anthony Perez
The Casa Grande (3-0) faced arguably their biggest test since joining Conference 5A this season Friday night at Phoenix Central. The Cougars folded but didn’t break as they used a big third quarter to defeat the Bobcats (2-1), 40-30, and remain undefeated on the young season.
Casa Grande second-year quarterback Eltorna Gant was the spark plug for his team. He led Casa Grande’s big third quarter with a 21-yard rushing touchdown to give Casa Grande the lead for the first time of the night with 7:15 left in the period.
Gant helped put the game away when he found Nathan Long in the end zone early in the fourth quarter to give Casa Grande a comfortable 34-17 advantage.
Central senior quarterback Dominik Bagchi did everything he could to keep the host team in the game as he threw three touchdowns on the night, including a pass to Kohnor Brown which he took nearly the full length of the field that put Central up, 14-0, with 8:21 left in the second quarter.
Climax of the game
In what was a tight 17-14 game in Central’s favor at halftime, Casa Grande took over. The Cougars went on a long drive that took nearly five minutes and culminated in Gant’s touchdown run that gave Casa Grande its first lead of the night. The visitors then recovered a central fumble moments later and he was able to convert it into another time-consuming drive that resulted in another Casa Grande touchdown and a comfortable 11-point lead.
“I really, really feel that we can compete with anyone. But if we play the way we do, especially in this fourth quarter where we’ve had about 10 penalties in the last nine minutes, we’re going to get hurt. We definitely can’t play with the right teams (like that)” – Casa Grande coach Mark Luna on his side’s penalties on Friday night.
Casa Grande travels to Queen Creek Casteel next Friday, while Central heads a few miles up the road to play north.
Chaparral defense key to win against Mountain Pointe
By Damien Adams
Last week, Chaparral was intimidated by Williams Field as the Blackhawks ran the ball downfield en route to a win.
On Friday, Mountain Pointe tried to follow that same plan and it worked early, as The Pride relied on the ground game for an opening touchdown. After that, the Firebirds defense adjusted and took over, mostly containing the Mountain Pointe offense as their offense found a groove on their way to a 31-13 win at Ahwatukee.
Mountain Pointe was clinging to a 13-7 second quarter lead when the game turned around, as Chaparral scored 24 unanswered points.
Chaparral quarterback Miles Vandenheuvel threw three touchdown passes and ran for another. The quarterback’s mobility and ability to throw while running gave Mountain Pointe adjustments.
“Being physical, last week we couldn’t run the ball at all,” said Vandenheuvel when asked about this key to this victory. “This week we’ve gone over 130 yards.”
Chaparral hosts Desert Mountain next Friday while Mountain Pointe hosts Campo Verde.
Hamilton bounces back from early deficit
By Alex Suárez
Mountain Ridge hosted Hamilton on Friday night and got off to a fast start by quickly taking a 14-0 lead. Brendan Anderson and Terrance Hall were able to connect twice in the first quarter. Mountain Ridge would take an early 21-7 lead over the Huskies. The Huskies, however, were able to react after that and went 24 unanswered points and took a 10-point lead into the half. The game was controlled by the Huskies until the end as they managed to earn a 52-24 win over the Lions.
The key games
Christian Aguilar had a red-zone interception for Mountain Ridge and brought it back to 48. Two plays later, Anderson hit Hall for his second touchdown of the game on a 39-yard touchdown pass.
Hamilton’s Breylon Blount interrupted a 62-yard touchdown run in the second quarter to bring the Huskies within a point.
Roch Cholowsky and Jaxson Haynes connected for a 41-yard touchdown pass that would tie the game at 21. Cholowksy would later throw a 35-yard touchdown pass to Tré Spivey for a 35-yard touchdown pass.
Aaron Loughran was able to add to the Huskies lead in the third quarter following an interception that he was able to return for the touchdown.
Roch Cholowsky finished the game with two passing touchdowns and a rushing touchdown.
Genesis Smith was a ballhawk for the Huskies defense and finished the game with two interceptions.
Terrance Hall had two touchdown passes for Mountain Ridge, a 30-yard touchdown and another 39-yard touchdown
“They (Mountain Ridge) started strong, they made plays,” Hamilton head coach Michael Zdebski said. “They came up with a great plan and executed it. I think it’s very tough mentally. The best thing the kids have done is they kept playing. They stuck together and fought.”
“We scored 31 goals in a row,” Zdebski said. “The defense has battened down the hatches. It’s a great learning moment for the kids on how to keep playing.”
Hamilton (2-1) hosts Horizon next Friday, while Mountain Ridge (1-2) hits the road to face Apollo on Thursday.