Queen Creek had been looking forward to its shot at top-ranked Tucson Canyon Del Oro throughout the first three weeks of the season. However, the Bulldogs learned they have some work to do if they want to compete with the defending 4A-I state champs. Mainly, they have to learn how to hang onto the ball.
Queen Creek had been looking forward to its shot at top-ranked Tucson Canyon Del Oro throughout the first three weeks of the season.
However, the Bulldogs learned they have some work to do if they want to compete with the defending 4A-I state champs. Mainly, they have to learn how to hang onto the ball.
The Bulldogs fumbled seven times — losing four of them — and threw a pair of interceptions in dropping Thursday’s nonregion game, 30-7, in Queen Creek.
“It’s the third week of the season, so if you’re going to lose to the apparent No. 1 team this is the time to do it, I guess,” Queen Creek coach Curt LeBlanc said. “Let people say what they want. We didn’t give them our best game offensively.”
Canyon Del Oro’s Ka’deem Carey gave the Bulldogs his complete arsenal of moves and speed in the first half alone.
Carey, who entered the game averaging better than 250 yards per game, did not disappoint, rushing for 195 yards on 16 carries and three scores for CDO (4-0).
Carey’s 68-yard touchdown run on the game’s second play set the tone for the first half. He finished the half by breaking numerous tackles on a 93-yard scoring run as the Dorados faced a second-and-33 situation. The play, in which Carey cut back across the field twice, gave Canyon Del Oro a 20-0 halftime lead.
Carey’s second score, a 1-yard dive, was set up by a 50-yard interception return by teammate Kelton Beattie on Queen Creek’s first possession.
“It’s always good to come up here and get a win,” said Canyon Del Oro coach Dustin Peace, who lost his starting quarterback to injury after his team's second possession. “They are a solid team and really tested us.”
Queen Creek (2-1) missed on a couple of opportunities to make it a competitive game, committing turnovers in virtually all of the game’s key moments.
After scoring on the opening possession of the second half — a 20-yard scoring pass from Adam Brzeczek to Jeff Black to make it 20-7 — the Bulldogs lost fumbles on their next four possessions. The most costly fumble came when Trevor Forbis was stripped at the goal line with Queen Creek trailing 23-7 halfway through the fourth quarter. Eddie Smith stole the ball out of Forbis’ arms and returned it 54 yards to setup the Dorados’ final score.
The turnover led to Jason McBrayer’s 12-yard scoring pass to Josh Robbins to cement the win.
Brzeczek threw two interceptions, including one in the end zone from the Dorados’ 13-yard line with 10 seconds remaining in the first half.
After allowing Carey to rush for 167 yards in the first half, Queen Creek held him to 28 in the second half.
“We played well defensively, and we have to build off of that,” LeBlanc said. “We still have a lot of season to play.”
LIVE IN-GAME UPDATES
Kadeem Carey 68-yard touchdown run for Canyon Del Oro on its second play of the game.
50-yard interception return led to Kadeem Carey's second touchdown. He has 75 yds on 4 carries and 2 TD's.
Canyon del Oro leads Queen Creek 20-0 after Kadeem Carey runs 93 yards for his third touchdown of the game.
Canyon del Oro 20 - Queen Creek 7 after Queen Creek scores on first possession of the second half on a 20-yard pass from Adam Brzeczek to Jeff Black.
Canyon Del Oro 23 - Queen Creek 7 on a 37-yard field goal after a Queen Creek fumble at Queen Creek 20 yard line.
Canyon del Oro (3-0) at Queen Creek (2-0)
Time: 7 p.m.
Address: 22149 E. Ocotillo Rd., Queen Creek
Key matchup: How well the Bulldogs can contain the Dorados’ Ka’Deem Carey will likely decide the game. In the last two games, Carey has broken runs of 80, 80, 96 and 69 yards. If Queen Creek’s defense, led by linebacker Tommy Cawood, can keep Carey from breaking big runs, the Bulldogs can make things very interesting.
Key stat: The Bulldogs have six players who have accounted for more than 100 yards of offense, while the Dorados have just two, Carey and quarterback Mike Lewis. If the Bulldogs can continue to spread the ball around and frustrate the Dorados, they have enough talent to win an offensive shootout.
The intrigue: Queen Creek can vault into the mix of contenders in 4A-I with a win over CDO. However, the Bulldogs are in the toughest 4A-I region and still have a nonregion game against Cactus looming in two weeks, so the game against the Dorados will show how ready they are for the challenges ahead.