The Yuma Catholic football team decided to throw a wrench into the Arizona Interscholastic Association Division V Power Points.
Coming into their win over No. 1 Arizona Lutheran, the No. 5 Shamrocks sat behind the Coyotes, No. 2 Thatcher, No. 3 Joy Christian and No. 4 Northwest Christian.
Arizona Lutheran blew out Joy Christian and took down Northwest Christian, which lost again on Friday to No. 6 Bourgade Catholic, so Yuma Catholic coach Rhett Stallworth said he expects – or at least hopes – the win will get the Shamrocks to No. 2.
Thatcher, which won 21-17 at Yuma Catholic earlier this season, will likely move to No. 1, according to Stallworth.
The rankings are important for the Shamrocks because the top four teams get home-field advantage through the first two rounds of the playoffs. While many of the teams from Division V Section II are fighting for playoff position, Stallworth said the team to watch may be outside of the top 5.
"I think that team that everyone needs to watch is Round Valley," Stallworth said of the No. 7 Elks. "They've played some good teams and they've throttled them."
Last week the Elks won 36-25 at No. 8 St. Johns on Friday and their only loss of the season came on a 21-19 defeat to Winslow, which is No. 8 at Division IV.
The new rankings come out at 10 a.m. Tuesday.
'Can't teach 'em sick 'em'
Kofa coach John Blabe likes what he sees out of his team despite its 1-6 record and saw glimpses of promise Friday against Gila Ridge in a 35-6 loss.
There's one major thing, according to the first-year Kings coach who spent 29 years at Antelope, that his team lacks.
"We moved the ball better than we have all year through the air," Blabe said. "The bottom line is this team doesn't block well or doesn't tackle well. And when you don't do those things people are going to run over you. That was evident, especially in the second half. We don't hit well. We're not very aggressive."
Or put another way – "They're just not mean."
"These kids are great kids, they just don't have a mean streak in them," Blabe said. "They'll make one tackle and we'll make three plays where we don't hit anybody."
He said it's important to instill that mean streak into incoming freshmen but much harder to do when dealing with junior and seniors.
"You can teach how to tackle. You can teach correct form. You can teach correct wrap, drive," Blabe said. "You can't teach 'I want to hit them.' You can't teach 'em 'sick 'em' You either have it or you don't."
Big nights for small school backs
It was a good night to be a running back for a Yuma-area eight-man football team.
After being unsure if he was going to even be able to play, San Pasqual's James Gatling rushed for 312 yards and four touchdowns in the Warriors' 46-30 win over Ajo – which guaranteed a winning record in the regular season and kept San Pasqual in the hunt for the playoffs.
Harvest Prep senior running back Ruben Anaya had himself a game, too. In his last home game, Anaya finished with 22 tackles and rushed for 190 yards and four touchdowns – including a 62-yard score that clinched the win and a playoff spot for the Eagles.
When the game was over and the Eagles' coaches were talking with the players, Anaya asked if he could say a word to the team. An emotional Anaya choked up, thanking his teammates for the time he spent with the Eagles, letting them know how much they meant to him and how much he would miss playing on their home field.
It was a brief look into what makes high school sports great.
Which one is which?
When Cibola coach Lucky Arvizo Sr. called in the score of the Raiders' 69-6 win over San Luis on Friday night, he was rattling off the players who had rushing touchdowns.
Finally he came to Josh Hansen, who not only is a running back and linebacker for the Raiders but also has an identical brother, Jacob, who is also a standout linebacker.
"We had a score by one of the Hansen boys," Arvizo Sr. said. "It was No. 43. Is that Josh?"
Luckily, we had a roster handy.
Player of the Night
It wasn't the type of huge night you'd expect a running back to have in a major win, but Yuma Catholic's Carter Rodriguez isn't a typical running back.
Instead of racking up huge rushing yards, Rodriguez finished with 14 receptions for 235 yards and a touchdown – not to mention 55 yards rushing and two touchdowns.
Coming into the game, Rodriguez was one of the Shamrocks' main targets for quarterback Jagan Cleary. The junior running back had 12 catches for 216 yards and five touchdowns going into the game and more than doubled it in the win over No. 1 Arizona Lutheran.
"We've been putting him in situations where he's in the slot and gets mismatches against linebackers who can't keep up with him," Stallworth said. "It's something that we've always wanted to do, he's just better at it than the backs we've had."
Stat of the Night
After Josh Gonzalez of San Luis took the opening kickoff against Cibola 95 yards for a touchdown, the Sidewinders led a football game for the first time since Sept. 2, 2011, when San Luis led Antelope 20-18 in a back-and-forth contest that ended in a 46-38 Rams win. The Sidewinders also lost on Friday 69-6 to Cibola.
Source: Yuma Sun Archives/MaxPreps.com
Tweets of the Night
A weekly look at what the twitterverse is saying about Yuma football.
The Shamrocks' road win at No. 1 Arizona Lutheran had the Shamrocks trending locally for a brief time last night. Here is just a small sample of those tweets:
"Great night to be a shamrock. Beat the #1 team. Atta boys!"
@LexyLovesPeas, 9:54 p.m. Friday.
That led to this response:
"it's always a good time to be a Shamrock!!!"
@24alvarez24, 10:04 p.m. Friday.
About once a year, I'm thrown into the wacky world of eight-man football.
On Friday, I covered Harvest Prep, which plays in the outfield of Desert Sun Stadium.
It's a little different animal covering an eight-man game – including the math that comes since they play on an 80-yard field. The Eagles' opponent, Skyline Tech, used about about five different players at quarterback – including one player who also served as a lineman.
On the opening kickoff, Harvest Prep let the ball land on the 15-yard line and both Eagle players just stood there like it was a punt. After a few moments of confusion, Skyline Tech jumped on it to take possession.
It was something I've never seen, but this is eight-man football, where anything could happen.
Later in the second quarter, Harvest Prep lined up to punt on a fourth-and-20, but the kick was blocked. No problem, because freshman wide receiver Nick Loghry scooped it up and ran it 31 yards for a first down.
The game went from a 42-6 snoozer in the first half to a nail-biter that Harvest Prep needed to hang on to win.
Just another night at eight-man football.
People who complain about how tough their section/district/league/whatever is should really just stop. Unless they are in Division V Section II.
Entering the week, the section was home to No. 1 Arizona Lutheran, No. 4 Northwest Christian, No. 5 Yuma Catholic and No. 6 Bourgade. And that was before Bourgade and YC beat NWS and ALA, respectively.
Some sections feature four of the 10 worst teams in the state. In a section like that, Antelope could be a player. In the killer Section II, Antelope is going to go 3-7 despite showing promise at times.
As for the teams at the top, I would be willing to bet large sums of money (that is, if I had large sums of money, if it were ethical to bet on high school kids I cover and if it were legal) that the semifinals will be a Section IV affair, with all four top teams making it.
Around the State
Bourgade slipped past Northwest Christian 18-14. No. 8 Tucson High lost 51-30 to No. 9 Tucson Ironwood Ridge in a key DII matchup. In DI, No. 4 Chandler-Hamilton beat No. 9 Phoenix-Basha 32-31. In Division III, No. 2 Williams Field lost its first game of the year, 40-31 to No. 7 Saguaro. DIV lost its only undefeated when No. 1 Coolidge lost 43-28 at No. 4 Seton Catholic. And in the 8-man ranks, Gilbert Christian put up nearly 100 on Mesa Prep in a 92-50 barn burner.
"Rivalry Week" is still two weeks away – Yuma-Kofa, Cibola-Gila Ridge and YC-Antelope – but next week offers six games being played in the area that offer intriguing story lines. Notably, YC is back at home, fresh off the win against the No. 1 team in the state and facing Bourgade, which beat Northwest Christian. It'll likely be a No. 3 vs. No. 4 matchup. And if that weren't enough, Cibola and Lake Havasu meet in what's an elimination game for the Division II Section IV title. Gila Ridge can keep its name in the mix with a win over a banged up but scrappy Yuma High. NWC looks to lick its wounds at Antelope, and San Pasqual finishes its season against Mesa Prep.