At Pusch Ridge, the Lions football season ended as it began, with a loss.
Friday the 13th was unlucky for the Lions, who saw their nine-game winning streak come to a crashing halt in a 28-7 2nd-round playoff loss to the Yuma Catholic Shamrocks.
Just like on opening day, the final score was very one-sided, but the game itself was much more competitive. The halftime deficit was 7-0, but the Lions could never get closer.
Ed Harris was the main culprit for the Shamrocks, breaking loose for 296 yards rushing and three touchdowns.
Once Harris broke off a 20-yard run late in the first, the Ed Harris Show had begun. Then Shamrocks quarterback Julian Higuera completed a 27-yard pass to Brent Bash, which moved the ball to the Pusch Ridge 5-yard line. A couple of plays later, Harris scored on a 1-yard run for a 7-0 lead.
Early in the second half, Harris appeared to be taking the game over. Despite starting on their own 12-yard line, the Shamrocks marched 88 yards to pay dirt. Harris got loose for 30 yards. Higuera completed a couple of passes to push the ball down to the Lions 8-yard line. Harris carried twice and scored on a three-yard run to make it 14-0.
Just when it appeared that the game was slipping away, the Lions scored on their very next offensive play.
Lions quarterback Greg Schimke found Trever Cook wide open for 69 yards and a touchdown. Suddenly, Pusch Ridge was back in the game, trailing 14-7.
"We stuck to our bread and butter," Schimke said.
In the fourth quarter, the Lions forced a punt and began a drive that went 60 yards. A couple of pass completions, a horse-collar tackle, and an 11-yard run by Schimke took the ball to the Yuma 22-yard line. But with the play clock winding down, the Lions were forced to call a time out. With their momentum disrupted, Schimke came out of the time out and threw a pass that was intercepted by Joe Gandara.
On the next play from scrimmage, Harris ran 58 yards, and the Shamrocks had re-established control of the game. A few plays later, Higuera scored on a 7-yard run to make it 21-7.
Harris gained 200 of his rushing yards in the second half alone, as the Shamrocks controlled the ball on the ground. As a team, they finished with 353 yards rushing.
"They wore us down," said Lions coach Bob Vance. "Some people were on the field (because of injuries) for the whole game."
The offense struggled as well, as the Lions had several dropped passes, and several others were thrown off the mark.
"Our offense was off. That could be because of their defense," Vance said. "We decided to stick with the pass."
Schimke completed 17 of 33 passes for 216 yards and an interception. He ran for 56 yards, but the Lions running backs managed 32 yards.
Cook had a big night with seven catches for 141 yards. On a rare night for the normally spectacular Lions offense, no other receiver had more than 30 yards in receptions.
"Our backs were changing left and right," Schimke said. Due to injuries, different players were playing out of position at running back or receiver.
Vance was very satisfied with his team's 9-2 record and earlier playoff win.
"They gave it everything they had," Vance said. "They played so hard.
"It was a great season. It was my favorite season coaching any sport."