Mistakes, drops cost Yuma Catholic again in season-opening rematch with No. 1 Northwest Christian
There was more in the air than lightning Saturday — there was tension.
The Yuma Catholic Shamrocks fell to the Northwest Christian Crusaders 13-6 in Saturday night's season opener.
Yuma Catholic coach Rhett Stallworth said the loss says a lot for how he thinks the season will play out for the Shamrocks.
“Well, if they're (NWC) really the number one team, then we're right there. We've got a chance to get back to the state championship game and see what we can do.”
NWC senior running back Casey Jahn bolted down the field for an 87-yard touchdown halfway through the fourth quarter, giving the Crusaders the lead they needed to take another victory from YC.
Jahn led the Crusaders with 23 carries for 194 yards and a touchdown.
“There was a lot of pressure on these kids to play the number one team in the state right out of the gate,” Stallworth said. “They put on a good show tonight. I am proud of them, but we can get better.”
The Shamrocks were the first to put points on the board. They capped off an 11-play drive to the end zone early in the second quarter with a 3-yard run from Ryan Gill for a touchdown. The Crusaders blocked the extra point to contain YC to a 6-0 lead.
Gill had three carries in the game for nine yards.
The Crusaders were finally able to answer in the third quarter when quarterback Orbi Gonzales connected with Trevor Osbourne for a 22-yard touchdown. YC followed the Crusaders' lead and blocked the kick, tying the game 6-6.
Gonzales went 4-for-11 for 61 with a touchdown and an interception. Osbourne had two receptions for 36 yards.
Penalties also played a big part in the close contest. NWC had eight penalties in the game, while the Shamrocks had six of their own. The costliest for YC came early in the fourth quarter as the Shamrocks were marching down field. Pistone received an intentional grounding penalty that set the Shamrocks back 20 yards to the Crusaders' 41-yard line.
Pistone went 7-for-29 for 103 yards and an interception.
“We had the game in our hands at a lot of points,” Pistone said. “We just missed our execution on my part and on the team's part. There's a lot of little things that could have happened that would've made it go our way, but it didn't.”
Despite the incompletions, Stallworth said that Pistone still impressed him against the Crusaders.
“Tommy did just fine,” he said. “All the incompletes weren't all his fault. There were some people who were wide open that dropped balls.”
Kody Hazlett led the Shamrocks with 15 carries for 57 yards. Tyler Moreno had one reception for 28 yards and five carries for 20 yards. Alex Demyan had two receptions for 25 yards.
Stallworth said the Shamrocks need to improve on their catching if they want to make it back to the state championship game.
“We dropped a couple of passes that were touchdowns early in the game, we dropped one late in the game,” Stallworth said. “We can't make mistakes like that against Northwest Christian and beat them. When you get the opportunity to capitalize, you have to do that and we didn't do that tonight.”
Stallworth told his team not to get discouraged and that they do have an advantage over NWC this season.
“Just so you know, they returned everybody but one guy on their team,” he told his team. “We had to fill a lot of holes ... We will get better, though. That's the best they're going to be.”
Pistone only had one thing to say about what the Shamrocks need to do to prepare for their game at River Valley on Friday night: “We need to work harder than we did this week.”