Mov­ing on

YC routs Saf­ford, ad­vances to state foot­ball semis


J.R. Hen­der­son fin­ished his postgame in­ter­view and turned to fel­low Yuma Catholic se­nior Ryan Kircher. “We go­ing!” he shouted. “We go­ing to the semis, baby!” Kircher shouted back.

Af­ter three straight quar­ter­fi­nal ex­its, the Sham­rocks are back in the 3A state semi­fi­nals.

No. 2 YC over­came a slow start Fri­day night at Ricky Gwynn Sta­dium, ex­plod­ing for 39 unan­swered points dur­ing one stretch en route to a 65-28 vic­tory over No. 10 Saf­ford in the 3A state quar­ter­fi­nals.

With the win, the Sham­rocks (10-2 over­all) move on to face No. 6 Sabino (102) in the semi­fi­nals next Sat­ur­day night at Shadow Moun­tain High School in Phoenix.

“It’s great to fi­nally get that much closer to the goal we want,” Hen­der­son said. “We’ve been put in great po­si­tions by our coaches to get here, and we just had to ex­e­cute.”

YC didn’t ex­e­cute early on against Saf­ford (7-5), sur­ren­der­ing the game’s first two touch­downs to fall into

YC 65 Saf­ford 28

a 14-0 first-quar­ter hole.

But from there, ju­nior quar­ter­back Gage Reese and Co. found their groove as the Sham­rocks went on to com­pile 545 yards of to­tal of­fense on the night.

Reese (14 of 25) threw for 384 yards and five touch­downs, in­clud­ing three to Hen­der­son (6 rec.), who fin­ished with 250 yards re­ceiv­ing to bring his ca­reer to­tal to 3,505 yards — a new 3A state record.

Ju­nior run­ning back Ean Chavez rushed 12 times for 126 yards and three touch­downs, two of which came in the first half to help YC turn its early deficit into a 25-14 half­time lead.

“Just get every­body back on track,” coach Rhett Stall­worth said of what was go­ing through his mind early on. “Just a bunch of fluke fac­tors go­ing on and this and that. We needed to just rec­tify lit­tle dumb stuff. I never thought we were out of it, ob­vi­ously.”

It was Saf­ford that caught the game’s tough­est break early, though.

Af­ter the Bull­dogs marched 83 yards in six plays on the game’s open­ing drive — capped by a 44yard touch­down run by CJ Scrivner — and then in­ter­cepted Reese’s first pass at­tempt of the night, Saf­ford quar­ter­back Jer­ick Ar­bizo was tack­led awk­wardly on the first play of the Bull­dogs’ sec­ond drive.

Ar­bizo, who en­tered the evening with 753 rush­ing

Buy th­ese pho­tos at Yu­ PHO­TOS BY BRIAN FOGG/YUMA SUN

YUMA CATHOLIC SE­NIOR linebacker Ran­dal Voutt scores on an in­ter­cep­tion re­turn for a touch­down in the sec­ond quar­ter of Fri­day night’s 65-28 win over Saf­ford at Ricky Gwynn Sta­dium. Voutt re­turned two in­ter­cep­tions for touch­downs in the game.

YUMA CATHOLIC JU­NIOR run­ning back Ean Chavez low­ers his shoul­der as he tries to run over Saf­ford corner­back Bryant Mon­toya in the sec­ond quar­ter of a 65-28 win Fri­day night at Ricky Gwynn Sta­dium.

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