After tying the game in the fourth quarter, No. 2 CDO ground out a 33-27 win over No. 10 Arizona College Prep in quadruple overtime to remain undefeated on the season at 12-0.
Arizona College Prep went for it on 4th-and-1 with the game tied at 27 in the fourth overtime, and seniors Kayden Luke and Austin Greer and a slew of CDO tacklers stopped junior running back Tyler Lowder for no gain.
A 2-yard rushing touchdown by Luke on the following possession sealed the deal for the Dorados in front of a roaring home field crowd at Dorado stadium.
“Both teams had a lot of decisions to make — whether you go for it and get two or whatever may happen,” CDO head coach Dustin Peace said. “We just kept leaning on our defense, and that’s just what we do. They gave us an opportunity and challenged our defense on fourth down, and we’ve been very resilient in that scenario… I’m just excited for our team to keep playing, that’s all.”
Both teams were scoreless in the first half before Arizona College Prep sophomore quarterback Evan Heinrich threw a touchdown pass to Austin Spendlove to put Arizona College Prep up 7-0 on CDO with 1:02 remaining on the clock before halftime.
Arizona College Prep (8-4) went into the locker room at halftime up 7-0 after CDO senior kicker Reece Douglas missed a 41-yard field goal as time expired in the second quarter.
CDO senior safety and wide receiver Chase Laux gave the momentum back to the Dorados when he picked off Heinrich near the Knights’ 35-yard line on the third quarter’s opening drive.
The interception directly led to a 9-yard rushing touchdown from senior running back Joe Alba to tie the game at 7-7 a few plays later.
Heinrich connected on a 21-yard touchdown pass to Cam Mitchell late in the third quarter to give the Knights a 14-7 lead.
In what was probably the biggest momentum-changer of the game, an interception by senior defensive tackle Sa’Kylee Woodard early in the fourth quarter led to a game-tying touchdown.
“Well, for starters, I was just trying to get penetration, and I saw my teammates tip the ball. We practice something every Thursday called tip drill, and I just followed what I know,” Woodard said of his interception. “I saw the ball in the air and caught it. “It was my opportunity. You don’t see big people running the ball often. I kind of just took advantage of my opportunity.”
On the next drive, Laux flipped into the end zone inside the pylon on a 20-yard rushing touchdown to tie the game at 14.
“We had just been working on that play. We were just waiting for the right time to click,” Laux said. “Once I saw it, I said to myself, ‘I’ve got to get to the end zone.’ I saw that defender in front of me, laid my shoulder down and jumped over him.'”
Douglas missed a 26-yard field goal that would have won the game for the Dorados as time expired in the fourth quarter but later redeemed himself with a field goal in the first overtime that put CDO up 17-14.
The Dorados and Knights traded touchdowns, leading the game into triple overtime, where both defenses forced field goals to tie the game at 27.
Before Friday night, CDO’s defense had not given up more than 21 points in a game all season.
The Dorados will host No. 3 Mica Mountain after the Thunderbolts beat No. 6 Northwest Christian, 38-7, on Friday night setting up a coaching matchup between two of the best in the state — Mica Mountain’s Pat Nugent and his protégé Peace in the semifinals of the 4A state playoffs.
CDO beat Mica Mountain 17-15 last month at Dorado Stadium.
“We’re excited. I don’t think we played our best game against Mica (Mountain) that week. We know our backs are against the wall, and they’re going to come out and fight, but we’re excited for that matchup, Peace said. “What a fun storyline and all that other number. That means a Tucson team will be in the state championship. Our group has been very, very hungry for three years, and we have an opportunity.
“At that point in the semifinals, it doesn’t matter who you play. It matters how we’re going to play and our confidence in what we do.”
Peace’s Dorados went 14-0 en route to a state title in 2009. Jeff Scurran coached Sabino to unbeaten championship seasons in 1990 and 1992.
CDO hosts No. 3 Mica Mountain (11-1) next Friday at 7 p.m. Tucson time.
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ALLSPORTSTUCSON.com writer Kevin Murphy was born and raised in Tucson, and has followed Arizona Wildcats athletics since childhood. Murphy is a journalist product manager with the Green Valley News & the Sahuarita Sun. He has a bachelor’s degree from the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at ASU.