Catalina Foothills running back Ian Turner tries to break away from the Canyon del Oro defense. The Falcons finished with just 180 total yards.
Standing at the 50-yard line before Friday night’s game against Canyon del Oro, Catalina Foothills coach Jeff Scurran didn’t exactly marvel at the 75-degree weather.
“Well,” he said, “I could do without the wind.”
The wind, blowing at 17 miles per hour, was the least of his concerns in a 19-12 loss to Canyon del Oro.
The Falcons have 38 players listed on their roster, but only 26 suited up against the Dorados. Star running back Ty Cruz was among the injured, but did see limited action.
“We had defensive backs trying to run the ball who have never carried the ball,” Scurran said. “We started two guys on the offensive line that have never started for us before. And they were confused, but they played hard.”
As a result, the Foothills offense struggled.
Quarterback Rhett Rodriguez fumbled a snap on the Falcons’ first offensive play. CDO recovered and, on the very next play, scored on an 18-yard touchdown pass from Jordan Closs-Lopez to Tristan Peterson.
The Falcons finished with just 180 total yards.
“You know, that was huge,” CDO coach Dusty Peace said. “That’s a huge momentum deal overall. That’s what we’ve been doing a good job of, forcing turnovers, so it was a nice play. I’m just happy about the way we executed coming out of that to get the touchdown.”
After a 29-yard Grant Hubble field goal, CDO got the ball back and quickly scored again on a 1-yard rushing touchdown from Max Smith to make it 13-3. The Dorados missed the ensuing PAT.
CDO scored a second-half touchdown but otherwise struggled. As a result, Foothills stayed in the game.
“We spotted them a quick 13 (by) being nervous, then we pretty much killed it the rest of the game,” Scurran said. “At halftime, I said ‘I don’t care about the score. Win the second half.’ And we did.”
The Dorados had 173 yards of total offense, 76 of which came on the ground. Smith had 58 yards on 15 carries.
“We did enough to tough it out,” Peace said. “But I would’ve liked to see more on offense. On the other hand, defensively we played a great game.”
Added Smith: “We made defensive plays. Luckily, Cruz wasn’t in there as much as we thought he was gonna be, but we played well. We made tackles, and we made plays.”
Cruz had five carries for 20 yards for Foothills, which outscored CDO 9-6 in the second half.
CDO’s second-half score came with 4:31 left in the third quarter. A five-play, 56-yard drive ended with a 39-yard touchdown pass from Closs-Lopez to Thomas Sawyer.
Foothills came right back and scored on a 8-yard Rodriguez touchdown pass to Elliott Buchanan.
The Falcons worked their way up the field in the fourth quarter before settling for a 29-yard Hubble field goal. After a failed onside kick, the Dorados ran down the clock and won.
CDO improved to 5-1 and Foothills dropped to 4-2.
“The win feels great,” Smith said. “It was a big win for us and we hope to keep it going toward a good season. Hopefully, we can go 9-1.”