The dark skies were an ominous sign Thursday night in Glendale.
“I just said stop talking and focus on what you need to do,” Coyotes’ head coach Richard Taylor explained of his halftime message to his team after falling behind early in the first quarter. “Take a deep breath. I know this is an emotional game.”
The buildup was real, pitting two of the state’s most successful programs (on opposite sides of the Valley) against one another on a hot, humid night at Glendale Community College. Centennial won the Division II championship last season while Saguaro claimed the Division III title.
After falling behind 14-0, thanks to two long Byron Murphy touchdown receptions, Centennial (1-1) started getting traction on both sides of the ball against a Saguaro team (1-1) which lacks depth and got worn-down as the game played out. Remarkably, the ‘Cats high-powered offense was shutout after halftime.
“Once we started making mistakes, turning the ball over a little bit,” Saguaro head coach Jason Mohns told Sports360AZ.com after the game. “We started playing their game. We gave them short fields and put them in position to run the ball.”
Centennial played keep away thanks to quarterback Isaac Steele who threw for 207 yards and a touchdown. He also added two more scores with his legs. Not a bad night’s work for the senior captain.
“The mindset was to get the streak,” he explained to Sports360AZ.com afterwards. “Let’s ruin it.”