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Les WillseyStaff Writer, AIA365.com email@example.com
Yuma Catholic tames Scottsdale Christian in D-V FB quartersNov 10, 2012
A two-touchdown deficit was something Yuma Catholic had not experienced all season until Saturday afternoon in the Division V football quarterfinals against Scottsdale Christian Academy.
Were the Shamrocks able to recover? The answer -- a resounding yes.
Led by senior running back Kody Hazlett and a physical offensive line, No. 5 seed Yuma Catholic outscored No. 4 Scottsdale Christian 52-6 over the final 19 minutes of the first half and went on to post a 79-39 victory over the Eagles at Williams Field High School.
Hazlett carried 27 times for 245 yards and six touchdowns -- five in the first half. That in part enabled Yuma Catholic to turn around a 13-0 deficit that stunned, but obviously didn't paralyze the Shamrocks.
Yuma Catholic (11-1), the defending D-V champs, has now won 11 games in a row since opening the season with a two-point loss to Northwest Christian.The Shamrocks advanced to the semifinals where they face their seemingly annual postseason foe NWC next Saturday (Nov. 17) at 7 p.m. at Arcadia High School. Top-seed Northwest Christian advanced by knocking off No. 9 St. Johns 27-20. NWC led 17-0 after the first 13 minutes and held off feisty St. Johns.
"We'd never been down two touchdowns before today," Yuma Catholic coach Rhett Stallworth said. "We responded well to that adversity. We told them Scottsdale would come to play. Sometimes it takes what happened in front of you to believe it. We did find the sense of urgency we needed."
A pair of big plays, one on offense and one on defense, staked SCA to its 13-0 lead with 6:52 left in the opening period. A 51-yard pass from quarterback Luke O'Neill to wide out Sam Fillingame set up a 13-yard touchdown run by Zechariah Gatling after SCA stuffed YC on its first possession.
Yuma Catholic drove into SCA territory on its next possession, but SCA's Chaz Dudley intercepted YC's Jagan Cleary and returned it 78 yards for a second score in two minutes.
YC didn't panic and continued its game plan of feeding Hazlett, its 2,000-yard rusher, and mixing in an occasional pass. The Shamrocks' answer to the deficit was three touchdowns in a span of two minutes and 23 seconds that put them ahead to stay, 21-13. Hazlett had scoring runs of 1 and 31 yards sandwiched around a 62-yard post rout TD toss from Cleary to Ricky Hampton.
SCA (9-2) drove and scored using a 7-yard TD run by O'Neill to cut the margin to 21-19 with 11:46 left in the first half. YC responded harshly with 31 unanswered points to close the half on top, 52-19. Three more Hazlett TD runs, a safety and a 60-yard screen pass TD from Cleary to Andrew Determan closed out a barrage SCA couldn't overcome. YC rolled up 460 yards on offense in the first half -- 219 rushing and 241 passing.
"They pounded it right at us, knocked us back and we didn't tackle," Scottsdale Christian coach Willie Dudley said.. ...." After we got the lead, we couldn't stop them. They were better at the line of scrimmage."
A pair of second-quarter interceptions of O'Neill by Yuma Catholic led to 14 of the 31-second period points. Throw in a safety on high snap from center that rolled through the end zone and the Shamrocks defense had something to be proud of as well after a shaky opening period.
O'Neill finished with two rushing touchdowns and threw a pair of fourth-quarter TD passes to Alex Kaites. He finished the day with 259 yards passing and three interceptions.