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Shamrocks roll Rams in final meeting between YC's Stallworth, Antelope's Blabe
There were no surprises on Friday night. Everything went according to plan.
The Yuma Catholic Shamrocks shut down the Antelope Rams 49-7 at Ricky Gwynn Stadium.
It was an emotional victory for YC coach Rhett Stallworth, who faced close friend and Antelope coach John Blabe for the last time.
“It's bittersweet,” Stallworth said. “We're obviously happy that we came away with a win and in the fashion that we did. I'm going to miss coaching against him.”
It was the end of an era for the Yuma Catholic-Antelope rivalry. Though it wasn't the ideal outcome for the Rams, Blabe was still happy with the class that YC displayed against his team.
“You know the game went about just what I thought,” Blabe said. “It's not the way I wanted to end this, but it was a class act by Catholic the way they played us, plain and simple.”
The Shamrocks presented Blabe with an award as Blabe and Stallworth shook hands after the game.
“The award they gave me at the end of the game was totally unexpected,” Blabe said. “I was embarrassed, but I want to thank them from the bottom of my heart. Even though we're opponents on the field, we're friends off the field. “
Stallworth said that the idea for the award was the brainchild of the YC administration to show appreciation for all the work that Blabe has done for not only his own school, but for YC.
“He been very helpful to us,” Stallworth said. “It's one of those things where the competition between the two schools has probably brought out the best. It's been competitive, but it's healthy as well. You know you don't get to see that a lot anymore. So, it's a respect thing.
“He's done a lot in the community as far as coaching for the last 26 years. We just thought it would be nice to give respect where it was due.”
Both coaches pushed through, despite the different types of pain they were experiencing.
Stallworth fought through the pain of his recent back surgery. Coaches and players pushed his walker for him, as Stallworth rarely took the time to sit down.
“I was just glad to see Rhett up and on his feet,” Blabe said. “Although he shouldn't have been. Rhett Stallworth is like a bull and you're not going to stop the bull by conventional ways.”
Blabe stood tall despite watching his team trail the whole game.
“I was proud of my kids for hanging in there,” Blabe said. “It's tough to get beat week after week. But we came out in the second half and we put a score on the board. They felt good about themselves.”
It was a fast and clean game, one that ended in just under two hours like Stallworth wanted it to.
“My players came in and got us on and off real quick,” Stallworth said. “It was a good deal.”
Pistone was pulled before halftime, but went 14-for-25 with four touchdowns. Rocky Rutherford had four catches for 46 yards and two touchdowns. Ryan Gill had three carries for 27 yards, two interceptions and a touchdown. Kody Hazelett led the Shamrocks with seven carries for 70 yards.
Antelope's victory came in avoiding injuries and the Rams knowing they will make it to their homecoming game Friday against Estrella Foothills at 7 p.m.
“The important thing is that we avoided a lot of serious injury,” Blabe said. “We're going to play next week and that's our goal.
“We had a second string quarterback — Beto Castro — never played before and I thought he did an excellent job. We tackled a little better this week, so there's a little hope for our homecoming and that's so important to our school.”
Castro went 7-for-14 with two interceptions and a touchdown. Omar Flores had four catches for 60 yards with a touchdown.
Stallworth said that maybe this wasn't the last time Blabe would be standing on YC sideline.
“Who knows, maybe I'll have to hire him to come coach for us next year,” Stallworth said. “It's just one of those things, it's a little bittersweet.”
Blabe laughed off the idea, saying that he had to focus on his team and getting them through the rest of the season.
“I have to do a lot of reflecting and a lot of thought,” Blabe said. “I'm thinking about different things but right now I have to concentrate on getting these boys through the season with their heads up high.”