I attended the double header today at Paradise Valley High and here are my recaps and thoughts from those games.
Santa Rita v. Coronado
It took Santa Rita less than a minute to get on the board. Ian Garlets hit J.J. Holliday for a 30 yard gain and Garlets followed that up with a 41 yarder of his own on the ground. Santa Rita punched it in and took the early lead.
Coronado matched the score but on a long drive led by RB Kaylin Ashley. A 10 yard Alex Buya pass got the Dons on the board but the PAT was no good. 7-6.
This would be the only point Coronado would put on the board until late in the 4th as Santa Rita played good football and scored 40 unanswered points.
Another Holliday bomb set up a 1 yard TD run by Tamarin Jones and Juvall Calmese also plunged in from 1 yard back for scores in the first half for the Eagles that made the score 21-6 at half.
Coronado fumbled the opening kickoff, which SR recovered and converted into more points. Jones got his 2nd score of the night from 2 yards out.
Davontay Jones stripped a Coronado receiver and raced in for a 42 yard score and Garlets and Calmese added TDs before Coronado junior Shawn Martin scored late in the 4th for the Dons to give us a final of 47-13.
The score was ugly but Coronado was actually in this game. Turnovers killed them but not being able to convert in the redzone really hurt. That and the lack of a kicking game, which gave SR great field position to start the game. In the firist half alone, they threw a pick and were stopped inside the redzone twice. Two fumbles led to scores in the 2nd half and they got in the redzone two more times that resulted in no points.
The best player on the field may have been Kaylin Ashley from Coronado but I will give the game ball to the Santa Rita defense. Ashley got his yards but they kept him out of the endzone. They forced 6 turnovers and had a defensive score.
Saguaro v. Peoria
Saguaro got the ball first and marched down the field and into the redzone set up by a Cole Rarrick to Erik Brown pass but Peoria's Jamal Miles picked Rarrick in the endzone to thwart the drive.
Peoria got two first downs behind tough running from Miles but was forced to punt. Beau Burton moved the Sabercats but Peoria's defense tightened and held Saguaro to a field goal. 3-0 after 1.
Peoria went up after QB Vinnie Spano hit TE Kenry Robinson for a 59 yard scoring pass.
Saguaro again marched the field but came away empty handed after they missed a field goal. Fortunatley for the Sabercats, Paul Porras picked Spano and Saguaro took a 10-7 lead into halftime when Beau Burton ran in from 10 yards out. Saguaro also missed another field goal before the half ended.
Peoria opened the second half with a long drive that lead to a score. Jamal Miles was the go to guy on this drive, breaking runs of 20 and 17 before scoring from 2 yards out.
The Panthers had a 14-10 lead and all the momentum after forcing Saguaro on a three and out on the next series. The tide turned quickly though. Miles fielded the punt near midfield but a false start gave Saguaro the chance to punt the ball again. Max Smith boomed this one and Peoria got the ball at the 25 yard line. Peoria attempted a reverse that was fumbled and recovered in the endzone by Saguaro's Justin Jungblut that gave them a 17-14 lead at the end of the 3rd and for good.
Peoria moved into scoring position aided by another big Spano to Robinson pass. The Panthers moved the ball to the 4 yard line but opted to go for it on 4th down instead of going for the field goal and tie. Spano's pass fell incomplete.
Saguaro moved the ball and looked to be in control of the game but a chop block killed the drive and forced a punt. Peoria had the ball at the 43 yard line with 4 minutes to play but fumbled the ball right back to Saguaro to start the drive.
Peoria again forced a punt after Tyler Hutchings tackled Erik Brown for a loss on a reverse. This time Peoria had the ball at midfield with 1:36 to play. Spano hit KJ Bowen for a 25 yard gain but Max Smith intercepted Spano and Saguaro ran out the clock to get back into the state title game.
There were a lot of ifs in this game. What if Saguaro converted the two missed FGs? What if Peoria kicked a field goal and went for the tie? What if Saguaro never jumped offsides and had to re-punt? Bottomline, this was one of the best games I went to all year.
Has to go to Justin Jungblut for his game winning fumble recovery for a TD. Max Smith had the nice punt and the INT at the end to ice it. Beau Burton also ran very tough.
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