Friday Night Blitz: Week 9 highlights:
Mesquite Wildcats (7-1) vs. Marcos de Niza Padres (6-2):
We start with our game of the week, the 7 & 1 Mesquite Wildcats taking on the 6 & 2 Marcos de Niza Padres. Homecoming night in Tempe for the Padres.
But Mesquite draws first blood as the Wildcats cap an 11 play, 80-yard drive as quarterback Payton Haslam hands off to senior running back Paul Perry and Perry takes it in from five yards out; 7-0 Mesquite.
But on the next drive, Marcos quarterback Josh Eckley with a 2nd and 2 at his own 28, and Eckley takes off, scrambling 49 yards to give the Padres a 1st & 10 at the Wildcats 23-yard line.
Two plays later, Eckley finds sophomore tight end Tanner Blankenship in the end zone and we're tied at 7.
Marcos kicks off to Mesquite and senior return man Juan Giraldo returns it 84 yards for the touchdown, make that 14-7 Mesquite!
Ten plays later, 4th and 22 for Marcos, Eckley drops back, scrambles and finds sophomore N'Keal Harry in the end zone to make it 14-14.
With the Wildcats up 21-14, Eckley gets picked off by Giraldo! Yes, that Giraldo, the same guy who returned that kick-off 84 yards for the touchdown and Mesquite has a1st & 10 at the 14. Haslam lays it up to Jordan Robinson and the Wildcats take a 28-14 lead into halftime.
Mesquite spoils Homecoming for the Padres, beating Marcos, 47-28.
Higley Knights (7-1) vs. Saguaro Sabercats (7-1):
In Scottsdale, the ninth ranked Higley Knights looking for their 8th win of the season, taking on the second ranked Saguaro Sabercats, and we start this one with our play of the night!
First offensive play for the Sabercats, Luke Rubenzer throws a screen pass to Christian Kirk who heads up field for a couple of yards, cuts back all the way across the field, finds a hole and he's gone: 76 yards for the touchdown and an obvious play of the night!
The Sabercats so well rounded on offense, next possession, Rubenzer takes it in himself from four yards out and Saguaro scores again!
The Higley offense looking good early on as well, quarterback Tyler Bloom with a perfect pass to Nick Colson for 21 yards and a touchdown, but Saguaro goes on to win big over Higley, 55-28.
Boulder Creek Jaguars (4-4) vs. North Canyon Rattlers (2-6):
To North Canyon where the Rattlers were playing host to the Boulder Creek Jaguars. First play of the game, North Canyon with the ball on their own 22. Rattler quarterback Alex Fowler hands off to senior running back Onuche Okwoli and Okwoli takes it 78 yards for the touchdown and the Rattlers take a 7-0 lead.
But the Jaguars answer back on their first play of the game. With the ball on their own 43, sophomore quarterback Gunther Johnson hands off to Matt Kautzman and the senior running back takes it 57 yards for the score to make it 7-7.
With 5:25 to play in the first, Johnson hands off to Blake Dawson and Dawson fakes out everybody, 53 yards for the touchdown and Boulder Creek takes a 14-7 lead.
The Jaguars go on to beat the Rattlers 19-7.
Sahuaro Cougars (7-1) vs. Sunnyside Blue Devils (5-3):
In Tucson, the 8th ranked Sahuaro Cougars taking on the Sunnyside Blie Devils with Sahuaro in control from the outset.
With the Cougars up 24-10 in the third, quarterback Laramie Brown hits Shyyrod Holton for the 66-yard touchdown and the Cougars take a 30-10 lead.
They add one more in the fourth and go on to beat Sunnyside, 37-10.
Cactus Shadows Falcons (5-3) vs. Chaparral Firebirds (7-1):
Todd Graham made a big entrance into the second half of the Cactus Shadows – Chaparral game via helicopter after watching the first half of the Saguaro game.
It was senior night for the Firebirds and they didn't disappoint. Chaparral takes a 44-6 lead into halftime and came out in the second half looking for more.
Elijah Castro gave Chaparral great field possession and three plays later, quarterback Chandler Fox took the handoff, rolled out and got an easy touchdown.
Chaparral wins 54-6.
Salome Frogs (6-2) vs. Valley Lutheran Flames (5-3):
The ninth seeded Salome Frogs took on the 8th seeded Valley Lutheran Flames in round one of the Division VI playoffs.
Valley Lutheran took a 15-0 lead into the second quarter, but both teams struggled to get the handle with a number of fumbled snaps.
The most costly fumble of the night came after Salome put together a nice drive that got the Frogs down to the 15 yard line, but the ball popped out again and Valley Lutheran recovered.
A little trickery kept the Flames momentum going before halftime with a fake punt on fourth and two. They got the first down and more. Then with six seconds to go in the half, Flames quarterback Garvey Biggers hit Layne Torrey in the end zone for the touchdown to put the Flames up 22-0.
But Salome came back in the second half to win it 30-28.
Horizon Huskies (7-1) vs. Pinnacle Pioneers (6-2):
In Phoenix, the sixth ranked Horizon Huskies took on the 8th ranked Pinnacle Pioneers.
On the opening kickoff of the second half, with Pinnacle leading 14-12, Tyler Townsely
returned the kick for 80 yards and the touchdown to make it 21-12 Pioneers.
Pinnacle extends their lead 28-12 when junior quarterback Brian Lewerke found Cules Rose for a 37 yard touchdown and it's 28-12 Pinnacle.
But Horizon's junior quarterback Dalton Sneed threw a 45-yard touchdown pass to Spencer Marciniak to keep the game within reach, 28-18 Pinnacle.
Later in the third quarter, with Horizon trailing 35-18, Sneed threw nine yards to Jason McLaurin and the two point conversion was good to make it a 35-26 ballgame. But the Pioneers hold on to win. 49-39 was the final.