Miscues Cost San Tan Foothills in Loss

2 years ago Andrew Luberda 0

If it hadn’t already known, the San Tan Foothills’ football team learned the hard way that nothing in life is guaranteed, even victory after jumping out to a 19 – 0 second-quarter lead at Gilbert Christian last Friday night.

The Knights, who trailed 26 – 13 at halftime, scored 16 unanswered points during the first six minutes of the third quarter, turning a 13-point deficit into a 29 – 26 lead on their way to a thrilling come-from-behind 36 – 33 victory.

The Cats dominated the first half, thanks to the two-headed rushing attack of sophomore Amahri Bailey and senior DeRonte Pope, who each broke loose for multiple long runs and scored a touchdown apiece in the first quarter. The Cats’ running back duo combined for 324 yards on 44 carries.

Amahri Bailey (7) rushed for 140 on 22 carries last Friday night.

“I thought we executed pretty good, but we can go a little bit harder,” Bailey told County Line Preps after the game. “We just need to continue working on our blocks and not getting tired coming off the ball.”

Sophomore quarterback Zach Herrera was on target early as well, especially to senior wide receiver Sebastian Penaflor, who caught six passes for 71 yards and a touchdown in the game.

Sebastian Penaflor looks to make a move on a Knights’ defender during last Friday’s game.

Penaflor’s touchdown reception was the third-straight scoring possession to start the game for the Cats, following the scoring runs of Bailey and Pope.

Brandon Williams’ two-yard touchdown run was sandwiched by a pair of Knights’ touchdowns to account for the halftime score.

A pick-six by the Knights, followed by a bad snap on a punt attempt that resulted in a safety, and a 24-yard touchdown run by Gilbert Christian’s Max Webb, wiped out the Sabercats’ lead.

The Cats reclaimed a 33 – 29 lead after Bailey’s second touchdown of the game from 36 yards out, but the lead didn’t last long.

Knights’ senior quarterback Nick Hershey scored on a 14-yard run with 1:18 left in the third quarter, which proved to be the winning touchdown, as both teams were held scoreless in the fourth.

The Cats did have one final opportunity with less than two minutes remaining in the game, but Hererra’s pass on fourth-and-five fell incomplete.

“A big one,” San Tan Foothills head coach George De La Torre said about the Knights’ interception return for a touchdown during the decisive 16-point turnaround in the third quarter. “I have a feeling also special teams.”

De La Torre referenced the bad snap for a safety and a missed PAT in the first half.

“It’s wasn’t just one thing,” the Cats’ first-year head coach said after the game. “That’s (the things) about this game, it’s a puzzle. You have 11 pieces that have to be clicking at the same time.”

“What a great lesson,” De La Torre continued. “I think everything we did tonight is positive because it’s a learning experience.”

The Sabercats will have a week off before visiting Antelope on Sept. 15, prepared to show they’ve learned from their mistakes.

Up next:  San Tan Foothills at Antelope on Friday, Sept. 15. Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m.

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