Most Viewed Stories
YC drops semifinal to Northwest Christian
PHOENIX — Yuma Catholic and Northwest Christian each had a quality drive in the second half.
The Shamrocks came away with a field goal but the Crusaders scored the game-winning touchdown on a fourth-quarter drive and won 21-17 in an Arizona Interscholastic Association Division V semifinal on Saturday night at Arcadia High School in Phoenix.
“They controlled us all night but we made the plays when we needed them to,” Northwest Christian coach Dave Inness said.
Yuma Catholic senior running back Kody Hazlett finished with 226 yards on 36 carries with a touchdown but had two costly fumbles in the first quarter.
“I coughed the ball up. That's what lost us the game,” said an emotional Hazlett, who finished his Yuma Catholic career with 2,599 yards and 33 touchdowns.
Sophomore quarterback Jagan Cleary went 11 for 22 with 101 yards and a touchdown, and sophomore receiver Donovan Rooks had five catches for 60 yards.
With the Shamrocks leading 17-14 midway through the fourth quarter, Northwest Christian quarterback Kyle Shipp rolled left on a fourth-and-10 then turned and found a wide-open Trevor Osborne, who ran it in for a 29-yard score to take the lead for good. Osborne scored all three touchdowns for the Crusaders — adding a 100-yard fumble return and a 7-yard run.
“We worked on that all week so we knew it could work,” Inness said. “I didn't think he'd be that wide open.”
“That was our fault,” Yuma Catholic coach Rhett Stallworth said. “The corner blew the coverage. We checked coverage and our corner stayed in man-to-man and it wasn't supposed to be.”
The Shamrocks took it to the Northwest Christian 34-yard line on the ensuing drive, but a holding penalty backed them up.
“(The officials) made some horrible calls where their guy cuts our guy and falls on him and calls us for holding them,” Stallworth said.
On a fourth-and-11 on the 39, Cleary was sacked with 3:45 left to go in the game, and the Shamrocks couldn't get anything on a last-gasp drive.
Yuma Catholic (11-2) took a 17-14 lead on a 21-yard field goal by Oswaldo Rodriguez with 10:30 left in the fourth quarter. However, it was seen as a blown opportunity after having the ball on a second-and-goal on the 4-yard line. Andrew Determan picked up a yard on a run, then the Shamrocks fumbled the snap and settled for the field goal.
“We just didn't finish. That's what it comes down to,” Hazlett said. “We should have pushed it in in the fourth. We didn't finish.”
The Shamrocks opened the game with a long kick return by Determan and eight plays later, Yuma Catholic looked to be knocking on the door after a three-yard run by Hazlett put them on the 3-yard line. On the next play, Hazlett plowed into the crowded line before Osborne suddenly began running the other way — recovering a fumble and returning it more than 100 yards for a 7-0 lead.
“I'll show you the film of when we're in the end zone on that drive and his knees go down and he goes down in the end zone and they pick up the ball and run to the end zone,” Stallworth said. “I guarantee he was in the end zone.”
“To be honest, I didn't know where the ball was. But when I saw Trevor going down the field, I just knew he obviously pulled it clean,” Inness said.
It didn't get better for Hazlett on the Shamrocks' following drive. A 30-yard run by Hazlett and a Crusader pass interference call put the Shamrocks on the 10-yard line. Two plays later, Hazlett fumbled again and Sammy Serwa recovered for Northwest Christian.
However, the Crusaders also made some critical mistakes for the Shamrocks to take advantage. On a fourth-and-26 on their own 47, Northwest Christian lined up in a spread, shotgun look — but when Shipp took the snap, he tried to punt it away and junior defensive lineman Marco Perricone blocked it.
The Shamrocks got inside the red zone for the third time, and Hazlett finally punched it in for a 2-yard touchdown run.
“I thought we played well offensively,” Stallworth said. “I thought we moved the ball. Our game plan was to run the ball.”
Northwest Christian's punting woes continued on its next drive when the punter caught the snap with his knee on the 36-yard line. On the following play, Cleary found Rooks over the top for a touchdown to take a 14-7 lead. Osborn tied it when he took an option seven yards with 3:52 left in the half.
“We were driving and we survived all that mess,” Stallworth said, “going into halftime 14-14 after that.”
However, in the second half the Shamrocks had a chance near the goal line and only came away with a field goal. The Crusaders, on the other hand, took advantage of a blown coverage and scored a touchdown. It marks the seventh game in four years between the teams that was decided by less than a touchdown — and for the sixth time, the Crusaders were on top.
“We survived it,” Inness said. “It was a game of runs. I don't know who we have walking left.”