As Friday night approached, both Canyon del Oro and Desert View had 2-0 records.
By the end of the night, one team would leave with a loss. The question was, who would stay undefeated and who would not?
CDO overpowered Desert View from the start to win 50-20.
Desert View, of the 5A Southern, led by head coach Robert Bonillas, was coming off a nail-biter win against Surprise Willow Canyon 26-25 and a solid win against Phoenix North 25-7.
Both games were played on their home field. Facing Canyon del Oro in Dorado Stadium would be the Jaguars’ first road test.
Canyon del Oro of the 4A Kino, coached by Dustin Peace, headed into Friday night with convincing wins over Queen Creek Eastmark 21-14 at home and Prescott Bradshaw Mountain 42-7 on the road.
Friday’s coin toss was won by the Jaguars, who chose to defer.
In hindsight, that may not have been the best decision for the Jaguars (2-1) as CDO running back Kayden Luke took the first snap from scrimmage 65 yards for a touchdown.
Luke, who averaged 20 yards per carry, ran for 209 yards in the first half and ended the game with 241 yards on 12 carries including two more touchdown runs of 53 and 32 yards.
CDO running back Joe Alba celebrated his birthday by adding two touchdown runs and ended the night with 66 yards rushing.
The Dorados’ offensive line opened up the running lane all game, providing a path for CDO to rack up 341 yards rushing on the night.
CDO quarterback Tristen McClelland threw for 93 yards on eight attempts. Two of those throws ended in Dorado touchdowns.
McClelland’s first strike was a long ball that landed in the hands of receiver Chance Cassel for a 62-yard touchdown with 10:06 left in the second quarter.
Receiver Austin Greer caught the second touchdown pass from McClelland, a 22-yarder as the first half was coming to a close.
The Dorados ended the night with 434 yards of total offense.
“It gives everybody confidence, it gives the defense confidence, gives the offense knowing this is what we can do all night. You could see the last run how punishing of a runner (Luke) is and what we can do with the run game. We hit a home run tonight, we threw the ball effectively, so we are still building on that. Fifty points, with the defense we have, I think we can be pretty successful.” Peace said about the offense.
Desert View (2-1) got on the board in the first quarter when quarterback Anthony Estrella hit receiver Isaac Steele in the end zone, followed by another Estrella to Steele connection with 38 seconds left in the first quarter. The extra point and two-point conversion tries were no good.
Estrella ended the night with 146 yards passing on 21 attempts.
In the third quarter, the Jaguars added a touchdown when running back Christian Teah powered over the goal line on a 4-yard run. Steele grabbed a quick throw from Estrella in the end zone for a successful 2-point conversion.
The biggest story of the night? The Dorados’ defense.
CDO’s defense caused havoc for the Jaguars all night swarming to the ball, causing four turnovers and holding Desert View to 270 yards of total offense — 124 yards rushing and 146 yards passing.
Peace had high praise for his defense.
“Any time you can control the line of scrimmage and force the team to do one thing I think that was the difference in our defense we were able to learn, make adjustments from that,” he said.
“It all still starts with stopping the run. Once we did that and they bailed on that we were able to be more successful as the passing game went on.”
Here are a few key defensive stops by the Dorados:
*Alba added to his offensive output by leaping to snag an interception from the grasp of a Jaguars receiver in the end zone for a touchback.
*Chase Laux grabbed an interception to add to the turnover count for the Dorados. He has four interceptions this season, one of the best totals in the state.
*ViJay King recovered a fumble to stop a Desert View drive.
*Stayton Brooks shook up the Jaguar offense while playing every defensive down of the game.
*Evan Greer put pressure on Estrella all game, including knocking the ball loose on what appeared to be a fumble but was called an incomplete pass. Peace mentioned that Greer was selected the coaching staff’s defensive player of the game with seven solo tackles, one assisted, three tackles for loss, two sacks, one forced fumble and two quarterback hurries that resulted in interceptions.
Brooks and King reflected on their big defensive night.
“Our defense is just a family. I love how we get to the ball we are all working hard. It’s a team effort” said Brooks.
“Swarm to the ball. Good things happen when you are around the ball.” King added.
Canyon del Oro will travel Friday to district rival Amphitheater. Jorge Mendivil, the Panthers’ coach, once coached with Peace.
Desert View will head to Nogales, the alma mater of Bonillas. Joshua Jetton is the new coach of the Apaches, who are 0-3.