These two teams played totally different styles of offense, Cactus Shadows uses a no-huddle, shotgun pass-happy attack while Sabino relies on the strong rushing abilities of Keanu Nelson and Stephan Fraser. It led to an interesting game, one in which 105 points were scored before the game was over.
It is hard to believe that the score of this game was 14-14 at halftime. Cactus Shadows QB Dillon Classen hit Joree Schneider and Brady Dombrowski for first half TDs for the Falcons while Sabino got two rushing TDs from Stanford bound Keanu Nelson. The latter TD was set up after DE Collin McBrayer picked off a Classen screen pass at the 12 yard line.
Sabino controlled the 3rd quarter despite CS coming out strong to start the second half. The Falcon D forced a 3 and out and Classen hit Tommy Murphy for his 3rd TD of the night. This was a 56 yard screen pass. 21-14.
But Sabino rattled off three unanswered scores, one from Tyler Cocchi and two more from Nelson, to take a 35-21 lead into the fourth quarter.
This is when things got crazy.
Classen hit Dombrowksi, Schneider and John Leonard on the opening drive of the 4th before running in from 3 yards out. A roughing the kicker call gave CS head coach Chad DeGrenier the idea to go for an onside kick, a decision that went in his favor. The Falcons recovered and moved the ball into scoring position.
Classen was then intercepted inside the 10 but Sabino fumbled the INT and CS recovered, giving them the ball back 1st and goal at the 6. Classen capitalized this time and knotted the score at 35.
Cactus Shadows clearly had momentum and gained even more when Tommy Murphy picked off Nathan Brooks, Mruphy's 11th INT of the year. But Sabino's D forced a 3 and out and Nelson set the Sabercats up on the 40 yard line after a nice punt return. Brooks hit Cocchi on a 35 yard pass and Cocchi plunged in from 5 yards out to give Sabino the lead at 42-35. A lead they would never relinquish.
Three more incomplete passes and a failed fake punt gave Sabino the ball back at the 25. A play later, Nelson ran in from 25 yards out for his 5th score of the night.
Classen was picked off by Rhett Taylor and Taylor raced in for a score that sealed the victory for Sabino. The score was 56-35 with 3:30 left in the game.
Both teams scored with late to make the final 63-42.
This game was actually a lot closer then the 21 points that showed on the scoreboard in the end. This game was tied at 35 with 7:30 to play in the game but several key stops and a late INT helped Sabino reach the 4A1 semi-finals.
Sabino used a strong rushing attack to win this game and Keanu Nelson had nearly 200 yards on the ground and scored 5 times.