YUMA - Chandler Valley Christian elected to play. But it would be perfectly understandable if the Trojans’ hearts weren’t in Friday’s 55-22 2A nonregion loss to host Yuma Catholic.
An hour before the team got on the bus to make the 3 1/2 hour bus ride to Yuma, the Trojans (3-1) learned that teammate Danny Pasanella had passed away in his bed due to unknown causes.
Jordan Morgan and Troy Roffi each had a first-half rushing touchdown for Valley Christian, but the Trojans could not overcome their grief or the play of Yuma Catholic quarterback Matt Inman.
The Shamrocks’ junior quarterback rolled up 450 total yards — 305 passing and 145 rushing, and accounted for seven of his team’s eight touchdowns to lead the Shamrocks to a victory over top-ranked Valley Christian.
Inman passed for three touchdowns and ran for four. He scrambled for touchdowns of 9, 70 and 47 yards, and tossed a 63-yard and a 58-yard TD — both to receiver Brian Badgley, who finished with three catches for 145 yards.
Yuma Catholic (5-0) jumped out to a 14-0 lead in the first quarter. The 58-yard Inman-to-Badgley touchdown came on the second play of the game.
But Valley Christian came back with 15 straight points and took a 22-21 lead when quarterback Stephen Sasso finished off a nine-play drive with a goal-line keeper in the second quarter.
But the Shamrocks closed out the half with two late touchdowns. Eddie Harris took one of his two carries of the night 8 yards into the end zone.
Then Yuma Catholic recovered a fumble in Valley Christian territory with less than a minute remaining and Inman scrambled for a 5-yard score to send the Shamrocks into the break leading.
“We really tried to put it out of their heads,” Sasso said. “We tried to play for Danny, but there were just too many distractions.”
Two Valley Christian players elected not to play.