This game was standing room only
by 6:15 and the crowd kept packing in. People lined the fences and overflowed
onto the sidelines. I think everyone in all of
Saguaro got the ball first and
spread the ball around to multiple players and managed to average nearly 10
yards per play. Tim Ruben went 3 of
3 on the drive, Beau Burton and Justin Shelton had nice runs, even
big Corey Adams contributed. The big
fella was fed the ball and rumbled 11 yards on the 2nd play from
scrimmage. The 8 play 71 yard drive was capped off by
Chaparral had some success on their first drive but ended up punting and it didn't take Saguaro long to get back on the board. On their 2nd play from scrimmage, he rumbled 77 yards for his second score of the night. Score 14-0 with 4 minutes left in the 1st.
Chaparral moved the ball well on their next drive. They took 4 yards a pop and moved inside the Saguaro 40. A flag on 3rd and 4 put them in a bad spot and forced them to punt after an incomplete pass.
But their defense stepped up and forced a 3 and out.
Similar happenings on Chaparral's next drive but when the Firebird's punted away, the pinned Saguaro at the 3 yard line.
Chaparral's D once again was looking strong but when Ruben hit Paul Porras for an 88 yard TD on 3rd and 23, it looked like the route was on. 21-0 Saguaro early 2nd.
Chaparral's Spencer Stone came out slingin' on the Firebird's next drive. He hit Matt Peterson, for 10, Mike Cummings for 38 and finally Deveron Carr for a 31 yard TD pass. PAT was no good, Saguaro up 21-6.
Chaparral would not lay down. On the first play after the kickoff, Chaparral's Derek Oesterblad picked off Ruben and gave Chaparral the ball at the 44.
Twp pass interference penalties kept this drive alive and Stone hit TE Tyler Williams from 9 yards out with 23 seconds to go in the half to make it 21-13 at the half.
Chaparral was looking to tie the score as they received the kick but those plans were squashed when Deveron Carr fumbled the kickoff and gave the Sabercats the ball at the 35. They managed to get a field goal out of it and now were leading 24-13.
Carr was looking to make up for the fumble and he took the next kick to the house…but it was called back as the ref said he stepped out.
Still with good field position, Chaparral was in good position to keep it close. They got inside the 10 yard line but couldn't punch it in. A missed FG would turn out to be big; especially considering an extra point was missed earlier.
The Chap defense played tough and forced a 3 and out and the Firebirds once again marched the ball inside the 20 and came away with zero points. A fourth and 1 pass fell incomplete and at the end of 3 it was still 24-13.
Give credit to the Chaparral defense for stepping it up. They forced a turn over on downs that gave Chaparral the ball at the 25. A one yard Matt Peterson run and a Tyler Williams 2 point conversion catch got Chap within 3 points. Score 24-21.
Penalties again hurt Saguaro as they had two more pass interferences, one on the 2 point conversion to give Chaparral a 2nd try, which they converted.
With the momentum now in Chaparral's favor, it was important for Saguaro to come out and move the ball, and that is exactly what they did. A 32 yard run by Tim Ruben on 3rd and 11 got the Sabercat's in scoring position. Ruben capped the drive off 4 plays later with a Ruben 10 yard scramble. Score 31-21 Saguaro with 6 minutes to play.
Chaparral did not give up though. Stone once again came out throwing and hit four different receivers before he found Mike Cummings for his 11th TD of the year.
Most thought Chaparral was going to onside kick, but their defense played tough and with nearly 3 minutes left and some timeouts, Chap head coach Charlie Ragle elected to kick.
The defense held but Max Smith's punt pinned Chaparral at the 15 yard line with 33 seconds to play.
Chaparral's hopes of a win was ended when Paul Porras picked of Stone to seal the deal.
This was the best game I have seen this year. The atmosphere was great, the crowd was big, there were big plays and hard hits. I was even more impressed that despite the rivalry, the players from each team met on the field and talked while the crowd left the stadium.
Saguaro pulled out all the stops. They put Ruben at CB at times and even let Corey Adams and Chris Merrill run the ball. The missed extra point and field goal really hurt Chaparral.
Both of these teams are very talented. Both had a number of penalties that will need to be cut down on before post season.