Aggies sneak past Trailblazers


Arbor View High's Roderick Eason racked up four touchdowns on 229 yards of offense Thursday, but none of that would have mattered if not for his one big defensive play.

With his team backpedaling late in the fourth quarter, Eason intercepted a Chase Roberts pass to help the Aggies seal a 48-46 victory over Durango in the Sunset Region quarterfinals at Arbor View.

The win lifted the Aggies into the semifinals, where they will play at Bishop Gorman at 7 p.m. on Nov. 19.

"We knew they were going to try for the score," said Eason, whose team fumbled at the Trailblazers 5-yard line with less than a minute to go. "I asked Coach if I could switch (coverage). He let me, they threw it deep and I got the interception."

Eason had already earned bragging rights by rushing 18 times for 163 yards and catching a 66-yard touchdown pass from Henry Hoffend.

But the victory remained in doubt, as Durango had an answer for each of Arbor View's seven touchdowns.

"It kind of turned out to be one of those games where whoever has the ball last wins," Aggies coach Dan Barnson said. "The playoffs bring out the best in teams."

Indeed, both offensive squads appeared unstoppable in the first quarter.

Donnie Gaskin scored on two long runs, Christian Rodriguez had a 62-yard scoring sprint and Eason found the end zone with a 65-yard run down the left sideline to give Arbor View 28 points in the opening period.

But the Trailblazers countered with scoring runs by Donovan Smith and Julio Mora and a TD pass from Mora to Michael Massaro to make it 28-19 heading into the second quarter.

Things settled down in the second, and Eason gave Arbor View a comfortable lead by capping a 16-play, 62-yard drive with a 1-yard TD plunge to make it 34-19 with 1:07 left in the first half.

But the Trailblazers needed less than a minute to answer, scoring on a 3-yard pass from Roberts to Smith to make it 34-25 at halftime.

Durango scored on a 69-yard pass from Roberts to Winston Williams in the third and again on Mora's 1-yard run in the fourth.

Eason, meanwhile, had a 7-yard scoring run in the third and the TD reception midway through the fourth.

But Roberts' 32-yard pass to Smith cut the Aggies' lead to 48-46 with 6:03 to go.

Arbor View nearly sealed the game with a first down in the final minute, but a fumble gave Durango the ball at its 5.

"That was a roller coaster of emotions," said Barnson, whose squad finished with 595 yards. "But I knew they had to go 95 yards, and we were going to make them earn it."

Eason's interception ended the Trailblazers' drive and secure the win.

Gaskin carried 16 times for 237 yards to lead the Aggies, and Rodriguez gained 107 yards on 13 carries.

Roberts completed 18 of 31 passes for 347 yards to lead Durango.

■ Centennial 16, Desert Oasis 12 -- At Desert Oasis, Jacob Owens rushed for 104 yards, including the decisive 48-yard touchdown in the third quarter, as the Bulldogs held off the Diamondbacks in the Sunset Region quarterfinals.

Centennial (8-3) will play at Palo Verde in next week's semifinals.

Clinging to a 9-6 lead, the Bulldogs appeared to be in trouble with 3:31 left in the third quarter after Desert Oasis' Angelo Bianco recovered the ball at the Centennial 40 following a bad snap on a punt attempt.

But the Bulldogs forced the Diamondbacks (8-3) to turn the ball over on downs at the 27. Two plays later, Owens raced 48 yards to the end zone to push Centennial's lead to 16-6 with 1:32 left in the third quarter.

Desert Oasis pulled within 16-12 on quarterback Trevon Barnes' 55-yard touchdown run with 3:10 to play.

After a three-and-out by the Bulldogs, the Diamondbacks got the ball back at their 28 with 1:55 left. But Centennial held Desert Oasis to 7 yards on the drive, clinching the win when Barnes' fourth-down pass fell incomplete with 30 seconds left.

The Bulldogs' defense held Desert Oasis to 225 yards of offense and came up with two first-half turnovers, both of which set up Centennial scores.

Christopher Johnson recovered a fumble that led to a Bulldogs field goal in the first quarter, and Taj Cole's 39-yard interception return set up quarterback Cody Clark's 1-yard TD plunge for a 9-6 Centennial lead in the second quarter.

-- Tim Guesman

■ Palo Verde 56, Spring Valley 6 -- At Palo Verde, Donald Anderson rushed for a score, threw for another and caught a touchdown pass -- all in the first half -- as the Panthers opened the Sunset Region playoffs in impressive fashion.

Palo Verde (11-0) will host Centennial, a 16-12 winner over Desert Oasis, in a regional semifinal next week.

The Panthers scored on all six possessions of the first half, with each scoring drive taking less than two minutes.

Even without leading rusher Brandon Wright, who sat out nursing a sore groin, Palo Verde rushed for 375 yards in the opening half on the way to a 42-0 lead.

Austin Whalen, Jonathan Maxwell, Ryan Beaulieu and Jerrol Garcia-Williams added first-half touchdowns for the Panthers.

Palo Verde outgained the Grizzlies (6-5) 581-191, including 506-45 on the ground.

Maxwell led the Panthers with 113 yards on seven carries, Beaulieu added 73 and Anderson had 69. Eleven Palo Verde players carried the ball.

Spring Valley's touchdown came on the final play, a 6-yard touchdown pass from Jordan Cox to Sean Clancey.

-- Sam Leeper

■ Bishop Gorman 56, Shadow Ridge 0 -- At Gorman, Jarrett Solomon threw three first-half touchdown passes as the Gaels (10-2) rolled to their seventh shutout of the season in a Sunset Region quarterfinal.

Gorman will host Arbor View next week in a Sunset semifinal.

Solomon completed 9 of 13 passes for 135 yards, including touchdowns of 14, 19 and 43 yards to Ryan Smith, Trey Perry and Justin Sweet.

Shaquille Powell led the Gaels' ground game with 59 yards on seven carries, including a 13-yard touchdown, in his first game since Oct. 1. Sweet added a 31-yard TD run.

Nathen Starks had a 1-yard TD plunge to put the Gaels up 49-0 at halftime.

Gorman's defense limited Shadow Ridge (6-5) to 104 total yards and picked off quarterbacks Ricardo Nordquist and Nick McDearmon five times. Ronald Lyles had a 37-yard interception return for a touchdown, and Mark Philippi scored on a 20-yard interception return.

-- Sean Walker

 

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