By Haley Stesiak
The 2016 Falcons of Catalina Foothills made school history Thursday night. For the first time, the north Tucson school headed to the semi-finals.
CFHS battled with Sunrise Mountain all night, but the Falcons came out on top 52-49 in Peoria.
Going into the half, the Falcons led 24-14. In the fourth quarter, both teams turned up the tempo, taking turns getting in to the end zone.
Sunrise Mountain thought they would see another weekend when an interception by senior strong safety Jacob Moore led to a scoring drive to put the Mustangs up 49-38 with under seven minutes left to play.
Falcons’ senior quarterback Rhett Rodriguez wasn’t ready for his prep career to be over, though.
Rodriguez ran all over the Mustang defense in the fourth quarter scoring two touchdowns in the last five minutes. The game-winning touchdown came after a 57-yard pass to Bryan Beckon set it up for Rodriguez to push through in to the end zone.
“In my head I was just thinking this isn’t it,” Rodriguez said. “This isn’t how I want it to end…I’m just thinking I have to do whatever it takes to go get a W.”
Catalina Foothills head coach Jeff Scurran said Thursday’s win was a “special moment” his team will remember forever.
“We’ve never been to this point in the season,” Scurran said. “It’s a storybook ending, but hey that’s why we do all the work and why we keep coaching.”
Scurran has coached at four different programs in Arizona during his 43-year coaching career. Thursday’s win ranked towards the top of his big wins list.
“In all my 43 years this is as good of a feeling win as I think I’ve ever had,” Scurran said. “Moments like this, you never forget.”
Catalina Foothills will make another trip North next Friday to take on Higley. The Knights beat Cactus 49-35 for the second time this season.
Thursday marked the end of Sunrise Mountain quarterback Chase Cord’s decorated high school career. He will continue playing at Boise State.