So much for opening the new Seton football field on the right foot.
The Sentinels, coming off two down weeks, started poorly and never recovered in a 45-14 rout at the hands of No. 2 Williams Field in 4A-II East Sky play Friday.
For the Black Hawks (5-0, 2-0 East Sky), it was another balanced night with plenty of yards on the ground, an efficient passing game and three interceptions — two by Jamison Gardner that led to Williams Field scores.
“In our offense, everything should work the way we draw it up,” said Black Hawks quarterback Tom Ross. “And with the talent that we have it should work.”
With Glendale Cactus losing, Williams Field could take the No. 1 ranking into its game with Notre Dame next week.
On Friday, Williams Field needed to take the emotion out of a celebratory night in Chandler.
The Sentinels (3-3, 0-3 East Sky) were playing their first game on their new field on campus after four-plus seasons playing “home” games at Mesa Community College.
The field was blessed before the game by the former bishop of the Roman Catholic diocese of Phoenix (the Rev. Thomas O’Brien) and the Sentinels had plenty of emotion going into the night.
“Maybe too much,” said Seton coach Rex Bowser. “That’s possible, because this was easily our worst performance of the season and I don’t know why.”
Although Williams Field drove down the field on its initial possession, it missed a field goal and Seton got it back.
“That’s what we talked about the whole time, that this was going to be a big game for them, the first home game they’ve had here in four years,” Williams Field coach Steve Campbell said. “We knew they would have a lot of emotion. We planned on it. We came out and said we are a little deeper, so let’s go ahead and get after it.”
On the Sentinels’ first offensive play in the new stadium, Anthony Wallace lofted a pass that was picked off by Gardner at the Seton 45 and returned 23 yards. One play later, Kenny Mitchell went almost untouched 24 yards for a touchdown and Williams Field got the momentum and never let go.
“That was our goal tonight to be a little more balanced,” Campbell said. “The first three games of the year we didn’t have much of a chance to work on the passing game.”
The Black Hawks needed just four plays on the next possession to score again — a 26-yard pass from Tom Ross to Mitchell. On the Sentinels’ third possession, Wallace finally got a couple of completions only to try and force a pass on the sideline and Gardner picked it off again.
The Black Hawks marched 42 yards for the first of Alex Howard’s three touchdowns.
Williams Field held Seton’s spread offense to just 40 yards passing in the first half and led 24-0 at the break. Seton didn’t get on the scoreboard until Williams Field muffed a punt on its 40 and the Sentinels took advantage — Wallace hitting Ethan Springston on a pass and then Mike Amorosi scoring from the 9.
“It was a big game for them, we remember our first game at home,” Ross said. “It was emotional.”