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Yuma Catholic flies past Willcox
If you're going to throw the ball, you might as well really throw the ball.
That's what Yuma Catholic quarterback Jagan Cleary did Friday night in the Shamrocks' 47-8 win over Willcox in the first round of the Division V playoffs.
Cleary's favorite target of the night was wide receiver Donovan Rooks. The Cleary-to-Rooks connection was strong all night.
Cleary had four passing touchdowns in the first half, three of which went Rooks' way, including two for 39 yards and one for 50 yards. Cleary ended the first half with 249 yards passing and Rooks had 225 yards receiving.
Yuma Catholic head coach Rhett Stallworth knew going into the game that they were going to open up the passing offense.
“They were playing without a free safety and trying to man up on us and we're just a little better at that spot,” Stallworth said. “We figure they're trying to run with us there and we'll put it up in the air.”
Cleary was confident in his coaching staff's game plan and said it was just a matter of execution.
“We came out, we had a game plan,” Cleary said. “Coach said we wanted to throw on them and we had good play calls that worked. Anytime you get our receivers one on one, they're going to get open.”
No matter where Cleary put up the ball it seemed as if Rooks was coming down with it.
“[Rooks is] a great athlete,” Cleary said. “I know if I put the ball up there he's going to go get it and make something happen.”
With a balanced running attack featuring Kody Hazlett, who broke the Shamrock rushing record last week, it probably didn't matter which way the Cowboys tried to defend Yuma Catholic.
“I don't blame them,” Stallworth said about the Willcox defensive plan. “Their first priority was to stop the run and stop Kody Hazlett, and we never even gave Kody many carries tonight. We didn't need to.”
Even though Hazlett was given limited carries, he still made the most out of them, with two touchdowns and 105 rushing yards.
The defense was equally dominant in the first half, giving up only 49 yards of offense to the Cowboys.
Though he was the flashiest, it wasn't only Cleary taking snaps under center. Carter Rodriguez got in the driver's seat for a drive that ended in a 1-yard touchdown run by Hazlett. Stallworth calls it their Alert Package.
“That's just a little package we have,” he said. “First of all, it's an ‘In case of emergency' package, but it's also something that against certain teams could really help us.”
Yuma Catholic will play Scottsdale Christian after its 55-0 victory over Pinon.
“We're still going to come in,” Cleary said. “We'll study their formations all week long and we'll come out ready to go.”