SAN TAN VALLEY — San Tan Foothills scored two touchdowns in the first six minutes, then couldn’t get a break for the rest of the game as Buckeye Odyssey Institute sailed to a 33-14 win on Friday night.
Three Sabercats players left the field with injuries, including sophomore quarterback Dylan Spann in the third quarter. Foothills is young, with 20 sophomores on the varsity team, but “every game is going to make us better,” coach George De La Torre said afterward.
Odyssey Institute coach Jon Castellanos said his team had season-opening jitters, including some players in their first tackle game. “So the first two plays we fumbled on offense, and I kind of figured something like that would happen," he said. "But they settled in, and I can’t ask for anything more. The kids played hard, and they’re a physical group.”
The Sabercats punted on their first possession, then the Minotaurs fumbled and Foothills got the ball back less than 10 yards from the end zone. Caden Husar carried the ball within an inch or 2 of the goal line, then on the next play made the touchdown. A minute or so later, Husar scooped up a fumble and ran it in for a 20-yard score.
But before the quarter was over, Odyssey Institute senior Don Tisdale broke free for a 40-yard scoring run and junior D.J. Rowe got the handoff from quarterback Carson Snyder for a 49-yard score, tying the game at 14-14.
The home team couldn’t retake the lead in the second quarter, despite penalties by Odyssey Institute totaling 45 yards for unsportsmanlike conduct.
The Sabercats recovered another fumble 30 yards from the end zone, and a Husar carry brought them as close as the 18-yard line. After quarterback Spann was sacked for a loss, the Sabercats attempted a field goal from 26 yards away that fell just short.
Odyssey Institute’s Rowe intercepted the Sabercats late in the second quarter. With the ball on the 5-yard line and 10 seconds left, the visitors used their last timeout. On the next play, Dax Emerson caught the pass in the end zone to put Odyssey Institute in the lead as the half ended.
Rowe scored again in the third quarter. In the fourth quarter, the Sabercats again came to within 18 yards of the goal line, but the Minotaurs got the ball on a turnover on downs. On the next play, Odyssey Institute's Chris Weaver broke loose to run it all the way in for his team’s last touchdown of the night.