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CDO continues winning streak with heavy heart


CDO center Morgan Narcaroti prepares to snap the ball against Pueblo with a full moon in the background (Javier Morales/AllSportsTucson.com)

In the midst of a five-game winning streak, Canyon del Oro suffered through a devastating loss this week for one of their players, keeping life and playing a game in perspective.

Savannah Narcaroti, the 21-year-old sister of CDO sophomore lineman Morgan Narcaroti, was killed in a road rage incident Wednesday.

Morgan was in uniform and he started at center in the Dorados’ 47-0 win Friday at Pueblo that extended the winning streak to five games and improved the Dorados to 5-3 overall, 2-0 in the 4A Kino.

CDO lineman Sa’Kylee Woodard, a teammate of Morgan’s dating back to their days with the Oro Valley Dolphins 13U team, attended a funeral of his cousin on Friday afternoon and joined the team right before it departed to Pueblo.

CDO lineman Morgan Narcaroti (74) surrounded by his teammates in a moment of prayer before Friday’s game at Pueblo (Javier Morales/AllSportsTucson.com)

“It’s been a very tough week for our guys and our program,” said CDO coach Dustin Peace, who spent most of his postgame speech commenting about the Dorados’ compassion for each other and their resiliency.

“I couldn’t be more proud of them for how they have continued to work through it.”

Narcaroti’s family and Morgan decided that he play because his sister would want him to continue his passion for football.

The Dorados are an extended family for him and the Narcarotis, who are involved with the program’s booster club.

CDO coach Dustin Peace speaks with his team after a 47-0 victory over Pueblo (Javier Morales/AllSportsTucson.com)

Morgan’s teammates with the Dolphins, who won the Tucson Youth Football and Spirit Federation city championship in 2019, also included running back/linebacker Kayden Luke and receiver/safety Chance Cassel.

The younger Dorados, with only four seniors playing extensively, have proven to be significant to the team’s recent surge that has them ranked No. 18 among 5A teams in the state and atop the 4A Kino at 2-0 along with No. 7 Casa Grande (7-0, 2-0).

CDO hosts the Cougars on Friday in what amounts to the region championship game.

Pueblo, 3-4 overall, opened its 4A Kino schedule Friday with the loss to the Dorados, who were led by the big-play arm of junior quarterback Caden Dawes and a bruising between-the-tackles running game that tallied 251 yards on 50 carries.

Dawes throwing for 317 yards on 8-of-12 passing with four scoring strikes of 76 yards to Zack Rogowski, 20 and 44 yards to Daylon Beck and 65 yards to Cassel, and the potency of the rushing attack, alleviated some of the difficulties of CDO’s 10 penalties for 95 yards.

“What was good tonight is everything is a learning experience for such a young team,” Peace said. “This is an experience, too, playing against a 3-3 team and being able to get a running clock. How do you handle that maturity wise? How do you continue to play, continue to battle, continue to learn, and continue to keep our focus?

“This is the most penalized game that we’ve had. A lot to work on with young kids to understand how important focus is to the game. That’s going to be a big takeaway for us.”

Peace continued that the positives included Dawes’ ability to open CDO’s offense with the passing game over the top connecting on deep routes.

The balance Dawes has brought to the Dorados’ offense in their five-game winning streak is immense. Keeping the defense honest allowed four running backs to gain at least 46 yards against Pueblo.

Luke, a transfer from Ironwood Ridge along with Cassel, finished with 46 yards on six carries, Jose Alba had 67 yards on seven rushes, Kendrie Astacio tallied 63 yards on seven rushes and Alex Vargas rushed eight times for 63 yards.

“Offense is clicking a little bit more with the deep balls getting completed and our running game going again with Kayden and all of our backs,” Peace said. “We got some other good backs who are just sitting on the table and got different roles. They were able to get some yards and get in the end zone.

“That was fun for them too. They deserve it. They do a lot of the dirty work and Kayden gets to run it into the end zone a lot of times. It was nice for everybody to have that opportunity.”

The undaunted Dawes, who says he tries to keep things “mellow,” has passed for 1,140 yards while completing 47 of 83 passes with 13 touchdowns and only one interception. He averages 25.3 yards per completion.

“I feel like I’ve been able to grow into my own,” he said.

Heading into Friday’s anticipated matchup with Casa Grande, CDO can rely on the even-keel Dawes to stay focused.

“We just have to stay humble,” he said. “Can’t get our heads too big. They’re still a tough opponent. They have a good quarterback (Division I prospect Angel Flores).”

CDO’s defense also played a significant part in the Dorados’ dominating win over Pueblo.

The Dorados pressured quarterback Diego Ramirez consistently. Ramirez completed 14 of 28 passes for 57 yards, unable to get a big play to open the offense. The Warriors were limited to only 20 yards rushing on 13 carries.

“Our guys fought all night but this this can be a moment of clarity of how we learn to prepare moving forward,” said Pueblo second-year coach Jake Allen, who is a former middle-school pupil of Peace. “That starts with me and I want to make that clear. I got outcoached and in all three phases tonight by their staff.

“It starts with me and I will get myself and our staff right. We’re not disheartened. Our effort was there. We just got a wake up call by really, really good team tonight. I have no doubt our kids are going to respond.”

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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. He became an educator five years ago and is presently a special education teacher at Gallego Fine Arts Intermediate in the Sunnyside Unified School District

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