Marcos v. Skyline

Round two of the Division 5 IIA playoffs found Marcos De Niza hosting east Mesa's Skyline High School. The two teams met in the regular season with Marcos getting the W. Could they do it again when it matters most…the Marcos defense would make sure of it.



Skyline received the ball to start the game but couldn't muster a first down going three and out. Skyline's offensive line out-sized the Marcos D, but Marcos made up for it with speed and aggressiveness. Skyline punted the ball to Marcos' Ramon Abreu who took the return 45 yards to the 18 yard line of Skyline. Two, back-to-back half-the-distance penalties on Skyline left Marcos needing only 4 yards to punch it in and that's just what Abreu did. A 4 yard hand off and P.A.T and Marcos was on the scoreboard only 4:45 into the game and having run only one play from the L.O.S.


Skyline tried to get its ground game going with Mike Bailey handing off to both Damari Lewis and Thomas Brown but the runs produced little to no gains and Skyline was forced to punt however, Dominic Sotelo knifed his way to the ball and blocked the kick - once again giving Marcos solid field position.


QB Zach Schira connected with Justin Rodriguez on a quick out pass that went for 15 yards. A few plays later, on a nifty play-action pass Schira found Ivan Valenzuela in the corner of the end zone. The P.A.T. kick was good and the Padres were up 14 – 0 with 5:35 left in the first quarter.


The Coyotes just could not find any offensive push against the Marcos D going three and out on their third consecutive drive – but they would get another chance. On the next Padre possession Schira threw a pass a bit high across the middle and Skyline cornerback Matt Ditsworth picked it off and ran to the 45 yard line of Marcos. With decent field position Skyline would gain eight yards on the ground but found themselves in a 4th and 2 – trying to get something going they went for it  - only to see Bailey over throw Brown. Skyline would turn it over on downs as the first quarter ended.


Marcos went on a long drive to start the second quarter that would lead to their third touchdown of the game. Marcos kept the clock rolling by keeping it on the ground with Abreu and fullback Dominic Sotelo getting the carries. Schira then hooked up with Tevin Newell on a 17 yard pass that got the Padres to the 14 yard line. After a flag for holding put the ball on the 19 Schira found Joe Morell on an inside screen that went for 14 yards. A three yard gain by Abreu and a two yard gain by Donovan Henley capped the drive. Marcos was up 21 – 0 after the extra point.


Marcos attempted and recovered an on-side kick but the ruling was that the ball did not travel far enough so Skyline got the ball once again with good field position. Once again they could not produce. A dropped pass to a wide open Brown, a run for no gain, and an intentional grounding call brought up 4th and 25 – Skyline once again punted the ball away. Marcos return man Abreu took the kick-off all the way back for what looked like a touchdown but a holding call on Marcos cancelled the effort


Marcos once again marched the ball down the field with a series of runs and short out passes, but the drive bogged down after a delay of game penalty and two incomplete passes the last one being on 4th and 9. Marcos would turn the ball over on downs.


Skyline desperately needed to get something going before half time and they would. With Damari Lewis doing some hard running and Bailey calling his own name on some keepers the Coyotes moved the ball into the Marcos half of the field. The drive stalled on the 30 yard line, but Jared Smith would come out on 4th down and kick a 47 yard field goal to get Skyline on the board.  To put the night in perspective it wasn't until this drive that Skyline actually moved the chains on the Marcos defense. With 30 seconds to go in the half it was 21 – 3 Marcos on top.


Marcos scored two touchdowns and a field goal in the second half – although neither touchdown was by the offense. On Skyline's first series of the second half Abreu, playing linebacker, picked off Bailey's pass and ran it 77 yards for a pick 6. 28 – 3 Marcos 7:41 left in the third quarter. On their next drive Marcos drove the field and stalled on the 30 yard line setting up a 46 yard field goal making it 31 – 3 early in the 4th. The scoring was complete when Skyline made its last effort to drive the field only to stall on the Marcos 31 yard line. Smith came on to attempt another 40 yard + field goal only to see it blocked, Donovan Henley picked up the ball and ran it 70 yards the other direction for a special teams score. With 8:53 left in the game Marcos was up 38 – 3.


Marcos pulled most of their 1st string offense allowing David Murray to get some reps at QB and Sly Hardwick some time at RB. But on defense, the Padres did not let up. The Marcos defense allowed less than 75 yards passing, less than 50 yards rushing, only a few first downs, and only 3 points on the night.


The Win sets up a big match up with West View in a couple weeks that should showcase two of the better defenses in 5IIA. For Skyline it was a tough way to end the season, but they are still a young school that has come a long way in a short time.


Game Balls:


For Marcos it is hard not to notice two-way player Ramon Abreu – this Jr. has a bright future ahead of him and it will be interesting to see how he does as a senior. Zach Schira does a great got of managing the game and although he had a pick and a couple high passes – his arm compliments the run first offense that coach Lopez relies on. Kakalea Pule stuck out a bit on the defensive line and Rose is solid at linebacker.


For Skyline Matt Ditsworth made several nice plays on defense, including an interception. Bailey has only been at quarterback for the last four games or so, and as a Jr. that experience should prove beneficial heading into his Sr. year. Brown and Lewis had some nice "thunder and lightening" efforts this season and were a big help in the 8–4 record the Coyotes achieved.              

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