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Hazlett breaks record, Shamrocks cruise
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It was just another record-breaking night at the office for Yuma Catholic running back Kody Hazlett as he led the Shamrocks to a 49-8 victory over San Tan Foothills.
With four touchdowns and 206 yards, Hazlett broke a few barriers Friday night. He brought his regular season total to 2,022 yards and broke the single season rushing record of 1,928 yards set by Ed Harris in 2009.
But like any team player, if you ask him about the records, it's no big deal.
“The record] means a lot,” Hazlett said. “But it's more for everyone, not just me. I wanted to be able to do it with all the guys up front. Now it doesn't mean anything until we win state. That's the next thing.”
Head coach Rhett Stallworth and Hazlett both know that they've got four more games to go before their ultimate goal is met.
“The main record that we're concerned with was the overall team record, and (Hazlett's record) was just a bi-product of that.” Stallworth said. “It was good to get that record for him, he's a good kid. It's a reflection of the whole team that's out on the field with him. Anything like that's a positive for the program.”
Hazlett is excited to return to the state playoffs as a senior to defend Yuma Catholic's state title.
“I think we're going to go in there with the same intensity,” Hazlett said. “I think it's going to be just like last year. I was a junior last year, and it meant just as much. But I think it would be a lot better if I was a senior and I had two rings. That'd be sweet.”
According to Stallworth, this particular Shamrock team has done a good job of stepping up after the bulk of last year's championship squad moved on.
“This team was a whole different team than last year for the most part,” he said. “We're just excited that they're stepping up and filling the voids of the people that were before them and filling the expectations that we've laid out for them. They're not the most athletic group there is but they have a lot of heart, and they're doing a good job for us.”
The Shamrocks will find out who they're facing in the first round of the state playoffs at 9 a.m. Saturday.
On a night where not much went right for San Tan Foothills, head coach Rodger Schenks knows his young team will take this loss as a learning experience.
“Our freshmen and sophomores now know what it's like to play a top four or five team in state,” he said. “We'll take our knocks, drive home and see what we need to do get better.”
With nine freshmen and sophomores on their starting offense, the Sabercats have some room to grow in the offseason.
“We only have two seniors,” Schenks said. “Hopefully they'll understand what it takes to get to that next level. Last year these kids were playing for stickers and orange slices, and now we're asking them to line up and play for a state championship. Mentally it's a big thing for these guys, but we have to coach them and work with the kids that we have.”
Despite the blowout loss to the Shamrocks, there's a slim chance San Tan Foothills will have a shot at the postseason.
“We find out tomorrow if hopefully we snuck in and end up being a 15 or 16 seed still and help them get ready for next week,” Schenks said.