Marco Perricone stood up Arturo Tapia, stopped him dead in his tracks as the Tonopah running back was trying desperately to keep the Phoenix in the game.
That's when Matt Pistone swooped in, ripped the ball from the star running back, and ran it back untouched 44 yards as Yuma Catholic built a four-touchdown lead.
It was that kind of night for Pistone and the Shamrocks in a 62-0 win against the Phoenix at Ricky Gwynn Stadium.
Pistone scored four times – twice on receptions from quarterback Jagan Cleary and twice on defense, including an 18-yard interception return.
"Defensively it's always a D-lineman's dream to take one to the house, and I got the opportunity to take two," Pistone said. "And on offense, I got the play calls going my way. I just did what I had to do."
Pistone entered the game with five catches for 50 yards and two touchdowns, but he dramatically improved those numbers with his four-catch, 59-yard, two-receiving-touchdown performance.
"Matt Pistone was a man among boys tonight," coach Rhett Stallworth said of his junior tight end and defensive end. "He's the real deal. When he's doing what he's been coached to do, Matt is a very big threat to people on both sides of the ball. Each week he's getting better. This week he rose to the top. If he continues this he'll be playing somewhere on Saturday afternoons."
The Shamrocks (4-1) started the offensive onslaught on their second play against the Phoenix (3-3) with a 47-yard run by Carter Rodriguez on what would be his only carry of the night. On the next drive, Cleary found Rodriguez from 30 yards away for a 14-0 lead. A successful onside kick later and Pistone scored the first of his four straight touchdowns on a 14-yard pass from Cleary for a 21-0 lead, with Tonopah still having only run three plays.
"We were obviously better in all aspects of the game, in all facets of the game," Stallworth said. "But they did what they were supposed to do. They were supposed to beat this team handily and they did. We're proud of them."
Tonopah drove to midfield on its next possession but Pistone came up with the strip with Perricone's help.
"He put me in the right position," Pistone said. "I just took the ball from him."
Cleary hit Pistone on a eight-yard slant as time expired in the first quarter as the YC lead grew to 35-0, then Pistone got the interception return on a failed screen pass.
"I just took it, got a good block from Jose Valencia and just got into the end zone," Pistone said on the score that started the running clock.
Andre Cabralles added a receiving touchdown from Cleary, who completed 15 of 17 passes for 165 yards and four scores, all in the first half. Thomas Rodgers added the final score of the first half, and Jaylen Barnes was the Shamrocks' leading rusher with 71 yards and a touchdown.
"It's pretty close to a bye week. We only played half the game," Pistone said. "(Arizona Lutheran) next week is No. 2 in the state. It's going to be a war. Our practices will get tougher but so will we."