YUMA - The blitzers were quickly closing in and Yuma Catholic quarterback Tommy Pistone had about a split-second to get rid of the football.
Pistone loaded his right arm and heaved a pass toward Kody King, who was streaking toward the end zone. King looked up, stretched his arms out and hauled in the pass.
When Pistone reached his sideline, coach Rhett Stallworth leaped into Pistone's arms and gave his helmet a good rubbing.
Pistone's 25-yard touchdown connection to King broke open a tight game as second-seeded Yuma Catholic prevailed over No. 7 seed Scottsdale Christian, 42-10, Saturday in a Class 2A quarterfinal at Ricky Gwynn Stadium.
YC advanced to the semifinals for the second consecutive year. The Shamrocks will play No. 14 Thatcher, who defeated No. 6 Tempe Prep 20-16, in the semifinals at 2 p.m. Saturday at Phoenix North Canyon High School.
Scottsdale Christian's season ended with a 8-3 record.
Stallworth said he was thrilled about Pistone's touchdown pass to King because when the play was called, he liked the defensive coverage the Eagles employed. But then, at the last possible second, the Eagles changed their defensive coverage. Stallworth said he thought the play was going to be a disaster.
Pistone, who threw for 313 yards and three touchdowns, and King made sure that wasn't going to be the case as the score gave them a 21-10 lead with 6 minutes left in the third quarter.
“I think that's the shot that broke their backs,” Stallworth said.
That play wasn't all Stallworth was worried about, though.
Heading into the meeting, Stallworth said he felt his team didn't match up well with the Eagles, particularly against Scottsdale Christian's size, speed and running back Chauncey Wright.
Stallworth's concerns appeared to have come true early on as Scottsdale Christian initiated drives of 11 and 15 plays to take a 10-7 lead with 5:14 remaining in the first half. Julian Higuera's 1-yard plunge gave Yuma Catholic. a 14-10 advantage going into halftime.
In the second half, Yuma Catholic held the Eagles to five total yards and two first downs, both of which came on defensive pass interference.
Wright, who entered the contest with 1,172 yards rushing and 19 touchdowns, was held to 58 yards on 28 carries.
“To shut down the run, there's no trick to it,” Stallworth said. “You got to get moustache to moustache and nose to nose and you got to be willing to get down and dirty with people. Our front seven did that tonight.”
The Eagles were playing with its third-string center. It was evident it affected their offense, at least to an extent, as they had five fumbles — all of which came from the center to quarterback exchange.
“We're in the shotgun most of the game. I'm not putting it on the center,” Eagles coach Jeff Fox said. “My hat's off to Yuma (Catholic) because they were going to beat us, probably, either way.
“I thought they played sound defense and they played solid football.”