It was going to end, that much was sure, but no one surrounding the Scottsdale Saguaro football program could have ever imagined that "The Streak" would end like this.
The Sabercats brought their 4A record 37-game winning streak to Tucson on Friday night, but they didn't bring it home after top-ranked Canyon del Oro posted a dominating 44-0 win in a nonregion game.
"They were ready to play football and they're excited for this," Canyon del Oro coach Dustin Peace said. "This is a huge win for us, but once again, this is not the end of our season and we're looking for bigger and better things."
The Saguaro players filed onto their buses quickly and quietly after the loss, while the Dorados (6-0) took their sweet time leaving the field after their statement victory.
One of the last to leave the field was Dorados tailback Ka'Deem Carey, who was as good as advertised. Carey rushed for 289 yards on 18 carries, including touchdown runs of 1, 84, 44 and 57 yards. The 84- and 44-yard scores came on back-to-back plays in the third quarter as Canyon del Oro turned a 17-0 halftime lead into a 30-0 rout.
While Carey was the offensive star for the Dorados, it was the defense that stood out.
Saguaro (4-1) was held to just 174 total yards and the Dorados forced four turnovers, including a second-quarter interception return for a touchdown by Jared Tevis that put CDO ahead 17-0.
"I've been telling people about Jared Tevis for two years now," Peace said of his senior captain, who had another interception return for a touchdown called back by a penalty. "He's by far the leader of the defense. You can see the plays he made, you can see how physical he is."
Saguaro could not mount any consistent drives, even when helped by the defense. In a scoreless game late in the first quarter, Jordan McDonald blocked a Dorados field goal, knocking the ball from the Saguaro 38-yard line back to the CDO 32.
After a 29-yard pass from Teddy Ruben to D.J. Foster gave Saguaro a first-and-goal at the 3, the Sabercats self-destructed. Two running plays resulted in a loss of a yard and on third down, the snap went over Ruben's head and he fell on it at the 16. Peter Douds' 33-yard field goal attempt sailed wide left, and the Sabercats didn't threaten to score again.
"We know that Saguaro's going to come back and they're going to be ready for us (if we play again)," Peace said. "We played good defense and we made it look decisive, but it was touch-and-go there for a while, and we know what kind of team that is."
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Early in the second quarter with the Sabercats threatening, a bad snap over Ruben's head puts the ball back at the 16-yard line and Peter Douds misses a 23-yard field goal for Saguaro. Still scoreless.
Tilghmann Harvey knocks one through from 37 yards to give CDO a 3-0 lead with 7:50 left in the half.
Ka'Deem Carey just scores on an exciting 1-yard touchdown run,taking a pitch right and jumping as a defender hits him and knocks him even higher into the air, where he flips and lands in the end zone. Saguaro is now trailing 10-0 with 3:41 left in the first half.
On its first play of the next possession, Saguaro comes out throwing and CDO's Jared Tevis reads the pattern, jumps the out route and picks off Ruben and goes 25 yards for the touchdown. For good measure, Tevis runs over Ruben at the goal line. The extra point is good, and it's 17-0 CDO with 3:33 left in the half.
First-half stats: Saguaro has carried the ball 21 times for 45 yards. Ruben is 3-for-8 passing for 52 yards and two interceptions. The Sabercats have three turnovers. CDO's Ka'Deem Carey has 12 carries for 89 yards. Overall, CDO has 16 carries for 123 yards and 59 passing yards.
Ka'Deem Carey breaks a couple tackles and gets free for an 84-yard touchdown run, making it 24-0 CDO with 5:28 left in the third quarter.
Ka'Deem Carey takes a pitch, cuts back inside and takes it 44 yards for the TD to extend CDO's lead to 30-0. Bad snap on the extra point. Carey's last two carries have gone 84 and 44 yards, both for touchdowns.
Carey breaks free for a 57-yard TD run to make it 37-0 CDO early in the fourth quarter.
After a second interception by CDO's Jared Tevis, the Dorados get another TD, this time from backup QB Jason McBrayer, making it 44-0 with 8:42 left in the game.