Pre-game Notes: The 4A-11 semi-finals are being played at North Canyon High School. Tonight's game is a rematch of the regular season meeting, which was for the Black Canyon Region title. Notre Dame won that Nov. 6 road game 40-17. Last week the Saints pounded Mingus 52-16 and many think the only team that can beat Notre Dame, is Notre Dame. One cannot over look the powerful offensive line that had opened holes all season for their running backs. Their size and strength have pushed aside opponents all season and the line is solid with OL Blair Tushaus, a junior (6'3" 264 lbs) who is being looked at by some D-1 schools. Thankful for the line play are RB's Andrew Stutz and Patrick Foley both averaging over 120 yards for their last three games. The theme for the defense is "if we score we may win, if they never score we will never lose". The defense attacks with a willingness to inflict punishment and is lead by LB's Anthony Greco and Ryan Reardon, both seniors. Notre Dame is looking for it's 22nd win in a row as they seek to defend their title.
Region foe Greenway is thankful for being here for this game. Last week at Queen Creek, the Demons scored a late fourth quarter touchdown and Coach Mike Brown, decided to go for the two-point conversion and the Demons scored. Queen Creek missed the field goal attempt to give the Demons an exciting 22-21 victory. Coach Brown is in his 13th season at Greenway and has won five region titles. Two years ago Greenway finished 0-10 and now they find themselves preparing to win over the Saints. The Demons have their own set of weapons led by senior QB Greg Walton who can pass effectively (60% completion with 1800 yards and 15 TD's) and rushes to drive the defenses crazy (732 yards). In the shotgun formation he is dangerous as a passer or runner. The defense is what is impressive, as they have recorded 24 interceptions. Ryan Harper (junior) leads the team with 8 interceptions followed closely by junior Ronnie Sellers with 6. Greenway needs some breaks to beat the Saints and knowing how Coach Mike Brown prepares his teams they have a real good chance.
Recap: Greenway receives the opening kickoff and on its second play QB Greg Walton fumbles as Notre Dame defender Andrew Stutz recovered the ball. Starting at the Greenway 39 yard line, Notre Dame ran six straight running plays and RB Patrick Foley is the one chosen to take the ball in the end zone and the Saints are up 7-0. Greenway keeps the ball for 11 plays but is forced to punt which sets up the Saints own 12 play drive and RB Andrew Stutz pounds it in from the one and the early 2nd quarter score is 14-0 Notre Dame. Turnovers just kill the Demons as again QB Greg Walton loses the ball and the Saints defense recovers. Saints QB Shane Wolfe hits WR Taylor Malenfant from 30 yards out and the lead increases to a 21-0 Saints halftime lead.
The second half begins with another Greenway mistake as the on sides kick attempt fails as the ball goes out of bounds and Notre Dame again starts with great field position. QB Shane Wolfe again hits WR Taylor Malenfant this time from 7 yards out for a 28-0 lead. The Demons are not done yet with turnovers as DL Shane Lannan recovers a fumble and rumbles in from the 19 to add another Saints touchdown and the runaway continues 35-0. RB Andrew Stutz scores one more time with a 9 yard run and the 3rd quarter score is 42-0. Notre Dame sends in the reserves for the 4th quarter and the final score reads Notre Dame 42, Greenway 0.
Bottom line: Mistakes were costly for Greenway as the turnovers set up easy scores for the Saints. Coach Scot Bemis stayed on top of his players all night to make sure there was no let down. His players were motivated to hit anything that moved and one could tell the players were focused this night. The big difference from last year is that Notre Dame plays more physical football. Notre Dame continues its march towards another title, as this year's team will stand on its own merits with one more victory. Santa Rita, their next opponent, watched some of tonight's game as they saw first hand what is in store for them. The Notre Dame win streak is now at 22 straight victories.
Game ball: This game ball belongs to the Saints defense. A shutout of a pretty good offensive team is something to admire. Greenway scored the most points this season against Notre Dame (17) and the Saints made the Demons pay for that.
Up next: 4A-11 State championship game. Notre Dame vs. Santa Rita.