Canyon Del Oro Dorados (1-0) and Walden Grove Red Wolves (0-1) are very familiar with each other. The 4A foes played in the Kino region until this year when restructuring moved Walden Grove to the Gila region.
Last year’s meeting of the two teams started strong for the Red Wolves but ended with the Dorados taking the win 42-21.
Dustin Peace, head coach for Canyon Del Oro, on last year’s game: “When we played them last year, they jumped out on us.”
The Dorados didn’t let Walden Grove jump out on them this year.
Canyon Del Oro held the Red Wolves scoreless until the 1:52 mark in the fourth quarter when junior quarterback Gabriel Smith rolled to his right and hit junior wide receiver Paul Guy in the corner of the end zone.
Peace on the outcome of Fridays game: “I think for us, we played a very good game for four quarters. We let one get away there at the end, but I was just happy. I think the thing we are most excited about is our ability to run the ball early in the year and our defense, our defense was suffocating, had two stops inside the red zone.”
CDO ball carriers had success against the Walden Grove defensive front. Junior Kayden Luke received the majority of the carries for the Dorados ending the game with 16 carries for 93 yards. Junior Jose Alba grabbed 14 carries for 78 yards.
With the addition of transfer running back Jordan Thomas, the Dorado backfield will be a force for opponents to deal with. Thomas, a senior transfer from Ironwood Ridge, averaged 92 yards per game last season.
Due to AIA transfer rules, Thomas’ first game for CDO will be Oct. 14 when the Dorados play Douglas.
The senior connection between quarterback Caden Dawes and receiver Daylon Beck was on point.
Beck said: ” I think we just have a good connection overall, not even just in games but in practice everything, every rep I think we are good to go together.”
Dawes backs up Beck’s analysis: “This has been my guy since last year, we just picked up right where we left off just throwing touchdowns to my guy.”
The two combined for two touchdowns and 106 total yards, including a 72-yard score.
Canyon Del Oro has a week off before hosting Desert View on Sept. 16 at 7 p.m.
*The Dorado scoreboard was a victim of a summer monsoon storm. The school brought in a portable scoreboard. The scoreboard is set to be replaced later in the season.
*Game officials were concerned about getting the game started on time. With 13 minutes to go until kickoff, the chain gang was missing. Officials were nervously trying to find out where they were. The chain gang arrived with 5 minutes to spare saving a delay.