In a game in which the two squads traded momentum, Chandler Seton Catholic held onto the mojo a little longer on their way to a 34-23 home win over the Maricopa Rams on Friday night.
The Sentinels (2-0) ripped through the Maricopa (0-2) defense on their way to touchdowns on their first two drives and were poised to do so again on trip three when an offside penalty on fourth and two persuaded the team to punt instead of going for the conversion attempt.
The penalty turned out to be a bit of a turning point for Maricopa, as the Rams' offense found some life behind a 21-yard touchdown run by quarterback Isiah Pedro early in the second quarter. From there, the Maricopa defense repeatedly halted the Sentinels' offense, and the squad found a little luck – a fumble picked up in the end zone by offensive tackle Christian Palafox for a touchdown, an unforced safety on a Seton punt – that put Maricopa up 23-14 with about 9 minutes left in the third quarter.
“Early we played really well. Then, all of a sudden, we couldn't tackle a soul,” said Seton coach Rex Bowser.
Then, for no explicable reason, the momentum Maricopa accumulated drifted back over to Seton Catholic and halfback Antonio Campanella, who pulled the team from seven points down to four points up with two rushing touchdowns in a two-minute span between the end of the third quarter and the beginning of the fourth quarter. The second touchdown came on a 50-yard run that was set up by a 39-yard catch-and-run completion from quarterback Kyle Johnson to, of all people, Campanella.
As the Seton offense came to life, the Rams found the once-open running lanes had sewn shut and couldn't muster enough force in the passing game to compensate for a defense that wore out chasing Campanella, who effectively ended the game with a 25-yard touchdown run with 1:45 left.
“We made this as difficult as we possibly could tonight,” Bowser said.
What made the night particularly difficult for the Sentinels were the slew of penalties the team accumulated. While the Rams were dinged for 90 yards themselves, Seton compiled more than 115 yards in penalties throughout the night, and received 10 flags alone in the second half.
“We obviously have a reason to continue practicing next week,” Bowser said, adding such penalties are associated with young teams.
As alluded to earlier, much of Seton's offense came in the form of Campanella, who rushed for 221 yards and four touchdowns on 22 carries and added two receptions for 37 yards. Quarterback Kyle Johnson and halfback Mitchell Detente combined for six carries and 38 yards, including a 2-yard smash by Detente for Seton's first touchdown.
Johnson also completed 14 of his 23 passes for 183 yards; five of the receptions and 55 yards went to wide receiver P.J. Delrio.
For Maricopa, senior halfbacks Elijah Alvarado – who gave Maricopa a temporary lead with a 21-yard touchdown run in the third quarter – and Falaah Shabazz paced the Rams' ground game by gaining a combined 128 yards on 30 carries. Wideout Tim Byrd grabbed five passes for 118 yards, including an aesthetically pretty and pretty ridiculous 35-yard fingertip catch that put the Rams in the red zone in the third quarter.
Pedro completed seven of his 15 passes for 140 yards and two interceptions, the first coming on a pass meant for Byrd in the end zone with 26 seconds left in the first half that was picked by Manny Estrella. He also ran the ball seven times for 77 yards, including the 21 touchdown spurt that came off a well-executed play fake to Alvarado.
“It's better to win ugly than lose pretty,” Bowser said.
Maricopa 23, Seton Catholic 34
Marocopa 0 14 9 0 -- 23
Seton Catholic 14 0 7 13 -- 34
First Downs: Maricopa 16, Seton 17
Rushing: Maricopa 37-205, Seton 28-259
Passing (Comp.-Att.-TD-INT): Maricopa 7-15-140-0-2, Seton14-23-183-0-0
Fumbles-lost: Maricopa 1-0, Seton 0-0
Penalties-yards: Maricopa 9-90, Seton 14-115.5
Seton – Mitchell Detente 2-yard run (Kyle Johnson kick)
Seton – Antonio Campanella 2-yard run (Johnson kick)
Maricopa – Isaiah Pedro 21-yard run (Christian Ramirez kick)
Maricopa – Fumble recovery in end zone by Christian Palafox (Ramirez kick)
Maricopa – Elijah Alvarado 21-yard run (Ramirez kick)
Maricopa – Safety, ball snapped out of end zone
Seton– Campanella 1-yard run (Johnson kick)
Seton – Campanella 50-yard run (Johnson kick blocked)
Seton – Campanella 25-yard run (Johnson kick)
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