Cactus Shadows erased the memories of last year’s winless season by dominating Surprise Willow Canyon, 47-7, in a non-region game Friday night in Cave Creek.
It was the first win for Falcons coach Chad DeGrenier and an emotional one at that.
"I have so many emotions right now, I’m so happy," said a visibly moved DeGrenier. "I want to cry."
The Falcons (1-0) didn’t waste any time by taking their first possession 89 yards in 16 plays for a touchdown. They had an even mix of run and pass plays on the drive, keeping the Wildcats (0-2) off balance. On the drive, quarterback Phillip Aholt connected with Kyle Watkins for a 28-yard gain to keep the drive alive. Aholt finished the drive by hitting Michael Moorer from 30 yards out for the game’s first score.
Aholt was 12-of-18 passing for 166 yards and four touchdowns. Kyle Royer also had a huge night, racking up 158 yards and two touchdowns on only 12 carries.
Though this was a huge win for the Cactus Shadows program, DeGrenier is trying to keep it in perspective.
"We’ve got a tough road ahead of us after tonight. We have Pinnacle, Cortez. But we’re going to enjoy the heck out of this one tonight and get back to work."
Moorer came up big again on the Wildcats’ second possession. The Falcon defense tipped a Troy Valdez pass into the air, and it bounced off of three more players before Moorer picked it off and raced 37 yards for another score.
DeGrenier knows what the Wildcat coaching staff is going through and even offered some advice. "I know how they feel. We were 0-10 last year and I took over a dying program. . . . Keep the faith."
Watkins hauled in five catches for 99 yards and a touchdown.