STAR OF THE NIGHT
RHETT RODRIGUEZ, QB, CATALINA FOOTHILLS
For the second consecutive week, Rodriguez, a senior who is Rich Rodriguez’s son, led Catalina Foothills to a comeback victory after the Falcons trailed by double-digits in the second half.
After blowing a 31-14 lead, Catalina Foothills trailed 49-38 at Sunrise Mountain with 6:39 left in the fourth quarter after QB Chase Cord threw his third TD pass and RB Garrett Veldhuizen scored on a 28-yard run.
Rodriguez scored his second touchdown run one of the game, this one from 7 yards, to cut the lead to 49-44 with 5:02 left in the game. After Catalina Foothills forced Sunrise Mountain to punt, Rodriguez then connected on a 46-yard TD pass and then scored the two-point conversion run to put the Falcons ahead 52-49 with 1:29 left.
During the winning drive, the Falcons converted on a 4th-and-10 situation. They held on to defeat Sunrise Mountain, allowing them to advance to the Class 4A semifinals next Friday against Higley at Williams Field High School in Gilbert.
Rodriguez finished with 298 passing yards while completing 16 of 23 pass attempts with one touchdown and an interception. He rushed six times for 63 yards.
Last week, Rodriguez rallied Catalina Foothills from a 28-14 deficit against Scottsdale Cactus Shadows in the third quarter to a 35-31 victory.
No. 9 Mesquite (8-4) at No. 1 Cienega (12-0)
— Cienega 63-38 F
— Quick drive by the Bobcats that started at own 11 ended with a Jamarye Joiner four-yard TD run. Aaron Aros’ extra-point kick put the Bobcats ahead 28-17 with 8:42 left in the third quarter. Dakota Poe had a 25-yard run Braeben Bolton a 38-yard reception in the drive.
— Bolton returned a punt 48 yards for a touchdown to put the Bobcats up 35-17 with 7:08 left in the third quarter.
— Cienega’s Rodney Rodgers jumped in front of a bubble screen and took the interception 51 yards to the end zone to put the Bobcats up 49-24 with 2:10 left in the third quarter. It was his fifth interception of the season.
— Terrell Hayward put Cienega up 56-31 with 10:38 left in the fourth quarter on a 22-yard run. Dakota Poe, who had 149 yards on only six carries, scored his third touchdown run of the game on a 22-yard run to increase the lead to 63-31 with 10:38 left.
— Cienega’s victory matched with Centennial defeating Desert Edge means the Bobcats will play Centennial next Friday at Tucson High School at 7 p.m. The Badgers’ field is a neutral site.
— Nico Jordan scored on a 15-yard run that was set up by Hayward’s 53-yard reception from Joiner. After Aros’ PAT, the Bobats led 42-24 with 4:25 left in the third quarter.
— Poe opened the scoring on a 37-yard run with 10:34 left in the first quarter. Aros’ extra-point gave the Bobcats a 7-0 lead. Poe’s TD run followed a 35-yard run by Joiner.
— Poe scored on the first play of the second quarter on a seven-yard run and Aros’ converted the extra point to put the Bobcats ahead 14-3.
— Mesquite QB Preston Smith, the grandson of former Arizona coach Larry Smith, connected on an 80-yard TD pass, to cut the lead to 14-10 in the second quarter.
— Joiner connected on his 16th touchdown pass of the season, a 47-yard strike to Bolton, to give Cienega a 21-10 lead with 5:29 left in the second quarter.
— Poe ended the first half with 69 yards rushing in addition to his two touchdown runs. Joiner had 176 yards passing and 65 yards rushing with one touchdown pass and an interception. Bolton had 100 yards receiving. Cienega was beset by 60 yards in penalties.
No. 6 Queen Creek (10-2) at No. 3 Ironwood Ridge (9-3)
— Queen Creek 42-26 F
— Three straight Jace Koester running plays ended with his 5-yard TD run to increase Queen Creek’s lead to 28-20 with 9:23 left in the third quarter. It was his third scoring run of the game.
— Koester scored on a 20-yard run and later had a 26-yard run that set up another 2-yard score for him in the first quarter.
— Ironwood Ridge QB Cole Gerken capped off 90-yard drive with a 3-yard TD. The two-point conversion failed and Queen Creek led 28-26 with 11:55 left in the game.
— Ironwood Ridge got on the board on a 6-yard run by Nick Brahler with 2:50 left in the first quarter to cut the lead to 14-6.
— On third-and-10, Gerken threw a 53-yard TD pass to Garrett Billings early in the second quarter.
— On fourth and goal, Brahler scored his second TD with a 4-yard run to cut the lead to 21-20.
No. 7 Marana (9-3) at No. 2 Williams Field (12-0)
— Williams Field 41-14 F
Pregame warm ups for Marana. The Tigers get started here at Williams Field in 30. pic.twitter.com/KHCw9Pf1Sv
— Marana’s Tariq Jordan was taken off the field in ambulance with a head injury in the third quarter. He reportedly was taken away conscious.
— Marana QB Connor Leavens threw his 20th touchdown pass of the year, connecting with to Jesus Valenzuela to cut the lead to 41-14 late in the fourth quarter.
— Williams Field QB Zack Shepherd and WR Justis Stokes connected on two touchdown connections in the first quarter. After Shepherd threw a 10-yard TD pass to Stokes, Shepherd threw a 64-yard score to Stokes.
— Marana QB Trenton Bourguet connected on a TD pass the B.J. McDaniel on a fourth-and-5 play to cut the lead to 14-7.
— Williams Field answered right back on a 63-yard touchdown run by Josh Alexander to take a 21-7 lead in the second quarter.
— Alabama-bound PK Brandon Ruiz made a 51-yard field goal to give Williams Field a 24-7 right before halftime. He later made a school-record 58-yard field goal to put Williams Field ahead 34-7.
No. 6 Catalina Foothills (10-2) at No. 3 Sunrise Mountain (10-2)
— Catalina Foothills 52-49 F
— QB Rhett Rodriguez scored on a 3-yard run to increase Catalina Foothills’ lead to 31-14 with 6:00 left in the third quarter. Two TD passes by Sunrise Mountain QB Chase Cord cut the Falcons’ lead to 31-28 with 3:02 left in the third quarter.
— Rodriguez threw a 74-yard TD pass to Dashiel Pudwill to give the Falcons a 38-35 lead with 10:29 left in the fourth quarter.
— Cord threw his third TD pass and Garrett Veldhuizen scored on a 28-yard run to put Sunrise Mountain ahead 49-38 with 6:39 left in the fourth quarter. It rallied from being down 31-14 in the third quarter.
— Rodriguez scored on another run, from 7 yards, to cut the lead to 49-44 with 5:02 left in the game. He connected on a 46-yard TD pass and then scored the two-point conversion run to put the Falcons ahead 52-49 with 1:29 left. During the winning drive, the Falcons converted on a 4th-and-10 situation.
— The Falcons advance to play Higley at Williams Field High School in Gilbert in the 4A semifinals next Friday.
— Catalina Foothills PK Heath Kleindienst kicked a 23-yard field goal to cut Sunrise Mountain’s lead to 7-3 with 2:53 left in the first quarter.
— Rhett Rodriguez scored a 6-yard run to put the Falcons ahead 10-7 with 11:17 left in the first half.
— Derrick Murray scored a 1-yard run to give Catalina Foothills a 17-14 left with 8:51 left in the first half.
— Dashiel Pudwill scored a 21-yard touchdown run with 2:52 left in the half to increase the lead to 24-14.
— The Falcons’ Bryan Beckon had an interception in the second quarter that helped change the momentum.
No. 5 Marcos de Niza (8-4) at No. 4 Salpointe (10-2)
— Salpointe 48-6 F
— After Salpointe’s Bijan Robinson scored on a 5-yard run in the third quarter, PK Cameron Scharf made his second field goal of the game, a 31-yarder, with 9:48 left in the game to put Salpointe up 41-6.
— Salpointe’s Rodrigo Nieto scored on a 47-yard interception return to put Salpointe up 48-6 with 8:51 in the game.
— The Lancers finished with a 48-6 win to improve to 10-2 overall and advance to the Class 4A semifinals, in which they will play No. 1 seed Saguaro next Friday at Desert Mountain High School in Phoenix.
— Salpointe RB Mario Padilla helped put the Lancers up 7-0 with 10-yard run in the first quarter.
— PK Cameron Scharf made a 42-yard field goal to put the Lancers ahead 10-0 with 6:25 left in the first quarter.
— Salpointe QB Sean Barton scored on a 9-yard run to put the Lancers ahead 17-6 with 8:09 left in the first half.
— Barton’s 49-yard touchdown pass to Bijan Robinson gave the Lancers a 24-6 lead at 4:29 left in the first half.
— Padilla’s second rushing touchdown gave the Lancers a 31-6 lead going into halftime. Padilla had 158 yards rushing in the first half.
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ALLSPORTSTUCSON.com publisher, writer and editor Javier Morales is a former Arizona Press Club award winner. He is a former Arizona Daily Star beat reporter for the Arizona basketball team, including when the Wildcats won the 1996-97 NCAA title. He has also written articles for CollegeAD.com, Bleacher Report, Lindy’s Sports, TucsonCitizen.com, The Arizona Republic, Sporting News and Baseball America, among many other publications. He has also authored the book “The Highest Form of Living”, which is available at Amazon.