By Jay M. Stevens
The Wildcats jumped into their championship game Saturday with a fury, leading off with a touchdown scored by Dominic Diaz, followed by the extra point scored by Blaine Grillo.
The Cardinals took flight shortly afterward, countering with a touchdown from Jacob Delara. Justin Delara came in just afterward with an extra point, tying up the game once more.
The Cardinals tried to push the envelope with an interception by Eddie Romero, handed off to Jacob Delara for the touchdown and Justin Delara for the extra point.
But, the Wildcats would not trail forever. Blaine Grillo caught a touchdown in the endzone, and, although the Wildcats did not score the extra point, the Cardinals botched a snap for a safety, allowing the Wildcats to lead by a single point and giving them control of the ball once more.
The ball was intercepted by Eddie Romero, but, before the Cardinals could make any more gains, it was again intercepted by Dominic Diaz for another touchdown.
“We’re trailing, but not by much,” said Justin Delara at the half. “I think we still got a shot at this.”
But things only got worse for the Cardinals in the third quarter. Zachary Sanchez received a pass and ran with it into the endzone for another six points, and the Cardinals fell deeper into a hole.
“We’ve come really far this season, especially considering where we were at the beginning,” Sanchez said. “To make it this far is just… wow.”
But the Cardinals saved themselves from a crash, landing with yet another interception by Eddie Romero, who took it home for a touchdown.
With a few seconds left on the clock, the Cardinals had one more shot at tying up the game to force overtime. But as they made their final pass, it was intercepted by Blaine Grillo, who used it to give the Wildcats another six points and secure the game.
“We did really good, I’m surprised, quite frankly,” said Wildcat Coach Enrique Sanchez. “We’ve come really far, and we really didn’t practice very much at all, a lot less than we should have. We faced a tough team for the championships and came out on top, and I’m pleasantly surprised.”
Tigers v. Irish: Luck of the Irish lets Notre Dame win a cage fight with a tiger
By Jay M. Stevens
Things got off to a roaring start on the Chaparral High School Puma Stadium as the Auburn Tigers dashed off to the first touchdown of the night, led by Dorian Edwards.
Not to be outdone, the Irish countered with a knockout punch led by MVP Ryder Vaez and followed up with an extra point by Emmerson Uli.
Despite a valiant effort from the Tigers, the Irish kept on fighting for another two touchdowns before the half, one led by Uli and another brought home by Vaez.
“You know, we’ve been doing great this season,” Ryder said. “It’s good to be out here again, and I think the rest of the night will turn out as great as every other game this season.”
Coach Greg Velasco said: “One thing we have to do is contain [Dorian] Edwards. IIf we can keep him in check, then we have this game under control.”
Vaez brought in his personal third touchdown of the night early in the third quarter, followed up by a pass from Emmerson Uli received by Tommy Jenkins for another Irish touchdown. Not one to let his eye drift from the ball, Jenkins would again receive for another Irish extra point.
The Irish brought home one final touchdown in the fourth quarter, an effort championed by Riley Frieze.
But even when the Tigers were down so much, they kept a feline fury inside their hearts, pouncing on an opportunity for a touchdown with a minute on the clock, brought into the endzone by Joshua Beck.
“We’ve come a long way since when we first got started,” Tiger Coach Dathan Edwards said. “At the beginning of the season, a lot of these kids barely understood the rules of football, let alone how to play it. To think we made it as far as we did is an accomplishment in itself, and even though we lost, it was good to play against such a great team.”
“I think we did good out there,” Beck said. “Yeah, we lost, but I had fun, and I can’t wait to get back into the championships next season.”
It was an exciting evening for the Irish as they brought home the title of Sugar Bowl champions.