Canyon Del Oro vs Catalina Foothills football

John Jackson tries to run down the Catalina Foothills ball carrier.

Randy Metcalf/The Explorer

Hopes were high at Catalina Foothills when Jeff Scurran became the head coach prior to last season. Although the Falcons were coming off an 0-10 season, Scurran had a reputation for quick turnarounds. The expectations were high, but they were met.

The Falcons went 8-3 last season, and advanced to the state playoffs. Their four losses were by a combined 20 points and their two regular season losses were by just 10 total points.

In addition to Scurran, the other big story for the Falcons was freshman quarterback Rhett Rodriguez. A freshman varsity quarterback is always news, but when that freshman is also the son of Rich Rodriguez, the head coach at the University of Arizona, then that just amps up the notoriety. The Falcons did a good job sheltering Rodriguez from the media glare and he responded with a solid debut season. Rodriguez threw for 1,451 yards and 12 scores, but had a standout running game led by Ty Cruz, to help take some of the pressure off of the young passer.

It took a few weeks for the Falcons to find their groove. They won a shootout against Desert View in the opener, then blew out Walden Grove before falling 13-10 to Cienega in a game where the Falcons’ youth reared its ugly head.

They blew out a good Sahuarita team and it looked like they might have found their grove, but the next week  they squeaked by Empire 14-6, then lost to CDO by seven. After that they won their final four games. They beat Flowing Wells and Casa Grande by a combined 109-7, then jumped out to an early 21-0 lead against Marana before having to rally in the fourth to put the Tigers away.

They clinched a playoff berth with a 24-17 win over Maricopa, but fell 51-41 to Shadow Ridge in the first round of the Division III state playoffs.

Foothills took a 14-7 lead early in the contest but were outscored 28-7 in the second quarter and tried to play catch-up the rest of the way.

The rushing attack was terrific, led by Cruz’s 1,300 yards and 23 touchdowns. Two other runners, Connor Koblynski and Ian Turner, rushed for more than 300 yards. Both Koblynski and Turner are expected to return in 2014.

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