2023 High School Football

Homecoming shut-out win over Sahuaro keeps Canyon del Oro unbeaten

Canyon del Oro runs on to the field prior to the Dorados’ 42-0 win over Sahuaro (Lexie Fegan/Special to AllSportsTucson.com)

A balanced offense and smothering defense by Canyon del Oro was too much for Sahuaro on Friday night as the Dorados defeated the Cougars 42-0 on Homecoming night.

With the win over Sahuaro, CDO coach Dustin Peace and the No. 2 Dorados are 9-0 overall and 4-0 in 4A Kino region.

While CDO is known for its hard-hitting running game behind their running back core of Kayden Luke, Joe Alba and ViJay King, CDO keeps opposing defensive schemes keyed in on the run.

With Alba out due to injury, senior running back/linebacker Adrian Davidson was put into the backfield rotation. Davidson (16 carries for 58 yards), Luke (13 carries for 133 yards and two touchdowns), and King (three carries for 41 yards) accounted for most of the CDO running yardage.

A strong run game opens up the offense for the passing game.

That is exactly what happened for CDO against Sahuaro (2-7, 0-4).

Dorados quarterback Tristen McClelland completed four passes on nine attempts for 134 yards and three touchdowns.

All three touchdowns were to senior tight end Ryan Madsen (three catches, 109 yards and three touchdowns), including a tackle-breaking run to the end zone.

McClelland on his connection with Madsen: “I’ve been struggling to hit him, so tonight I told him I’m going to get him. I finally got him for three touchdowns tonight. Me and him have been playing football since we were 10 years old so it was kind of nice just being able to grow up and play together and to finally get the luck he deserves.”

Peace on Madsen’s performance: ” Good to see a breakout day from Ryan. Ryan is one of our unsung heroes because he puts his hand in the dirt and he’s like a lineman but he catches the ball really well.”

Madsen: “Me and Tristan have played together since we were young, since we were 10. We’ve known each other a long time and we’ve really stepped it up the last couple years.”

Madsen, jokingly, on his tackle-shedding touchdown: “I didn’t want Kayden to get any more touchdowns.”

With CDO leading 42-0 early in the third quarter, Peace rested the majority of his starters, giving the backups playing time and game experience.

Canyon del Oro’s first score came with 4:50 left in the first quarter when McClelland found Madsen for the first of their three touchdown connections.

Less than 2 minutes later, McClelland hit Madsen again putting CDO up 14-0.

Luke added two touchdowns in the second quarter, giving CDO a 35-0 lead heading into the locker room at the half.

The Dorados’ final touchdown of the game came at the 9:26 mark in the third quarter off a McClelland-to-Madsen pass.

“Last year, game 10 was a problem for us. It changed our seeding and changed where we played games later on in the year.” Peace said about preparing his team for next week’s game against No. 10 Walden Grove (6-3, 3-1).

The Dorados lost at Mica Mountain in the regular season-finale last season, making them fall short of the 4A Kino championship and the opportunity to host more games in the state playoffs. His team still made the 4A semifinals and almost beat Snowflake on the road for an opportunity to play in the championship game, but it squandered a 10-point lead late and lost in overtime.

Peace added, “We want to get back to having a regional championship. I think our last regional championship, according to our plaques, was 2015. Our kids are hungry for that, they want to start there. A 10-0 season means a lot. This would be the fifth 10-0 team in CDO history.”

The Dorados, looking to complete the regular-season undefeated and secure the region championship, face the Red Wolves on Friday on Senior Night at Dorado Stadium. One of Peace’s largest senior classes — 29 players — in his 15 seasons as head coach at the school will be celebrated.

Sahuaro returns home to host the Pueblo Warriors in the season-finale for both teams.

Game Extras:

Jared Tevis, Nigel Tate and Josh Robbins, former CDO teammates who played for the 2009 championship team in Peace’s first season as head coach, were together again at CDO’s Homecoming game on Friday. Tevis and Robbins, both safeties on that title team. later were teammates at Arizona.

Homecoming fireworks! At kickoff, after every CDO score and the end of the game fireworks lit the sky.

Kings on and off the field. Sa’Kylee Woodard and Hollace Neasham were both voted King of Homecoming.

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