SAN TAN VALLEY - Halfway through the season and San Tan Foothills was still searching for that elusive first win of the year.

In their first five games the Sabercats only managed to score two touchdowns at most, so Friday's game was an eye opening experience for everyone on hand as San Tan Foothills defeated Vista Grande 55-18.

Along with it being the first win of the season for San Tan Foothills (1-5), it was also the first under head coach Mike Carlin.

"It's a relief," Carlin said. "It's been a long time coming. The boys have worked hard week after week after week and we've just been telling them to stay the course and good things are going to happen. Tonight the good things happened."

For the Spartans (2-2), the loss is a familiar feeling. Vista Grande has been on a see-saw ride so far as they grab a blowout win and then lose focus during the next game on lose by a big margin.

The first play of game should have been an indication of how the night would go for Vista Grande as they were back to receive the kickoff, the ball was misplayed by freshman Fernando Moya and was recovered by Eugenio Sandoval at Vista Grande's 40-yard line.

It only took four plays for the Sabercats to score as quarterback Brett Lincoln connected on two passes for nine yards before breaking out a 23-yard run. The drive was capped off with a 6-yard run by Emilio Soto.

"We knew kind of what was going to open up for us and we stuck to the gameplan from the get-go" Carlin said. "It was just the short passes to get their linebackers out and then run off the edges. We just stuck to it and the boys executed it and it was awesome."

The Spartans were unable to score on their own drive despite a 41-yard run by Tyrese Constable.

"We came out flat," Vista Grande coach Jon Roberts said. "Hats off to (San Tan Foothills) they came ready to play. We just have a little bit of an attention deficit disorder going on right now. We're a really immature team, we'll win a game the week before and come out and expect the same thing to happen without playing through the game. We came out flat and they jumped all over that."

Vista Grande did score after San Tan Foothills punted the ball away during their possession.

A 25-yard run by Constable and a 15-yard reception by Angel Chayden from sophomore quarterback Darnell Castro move the chains and eventually led to the 2-yard carry by Castro to tied the game at six.

The Sabercats only need one play to reclaim the lead as Soto delivered a 70+ kick return touchdown.

"We just put together a complete game," Carlin said. "It was nice week of practice, we're on break so we got to just concentrate on football. We told the boys to just play for each other and they did."

To kickoff the second quarter, Lincoln ran it in for 12-yards as he walked the tightrope along the sidelines give the Sabercats a 19-6 lead.

Moya redeemed himself from the opening kickoff as he also showcased his speed and got a 70+ kick return touchdown. The two-point conversion was no good for Vista Grande as they cut the deficit to 19-12.

The Sabercats scored again before the half ended, on a 7-yard run by Anthony Hood and also got a 17-yard field goal by Bishop Rhoads.

Anthony Eriacho also got in the scoring action to start the third quarter with a 3-yard run after Sandoval got the ball to the Spartans' 19-yard line during the kick return.

Klayten Jones added a 35-yard score to extend the lead to 42-12.

With under five minutes left in the third quarter, Vista Grande was running the ball back during a kick return when the ball was stripped and returned for a touchdown.

On the following kick return the Spartans attempt to reverse course from one side of the field to next but the ball was mishandled and was recovered by San Tan Foothills.

"This team has to learn how to rebound for a little bit adversity," Roberts said. "I think they've gone through so much adversity in the past, they have to figure out that just because we hit a team in the mouth the last week before, they next team is going to come out and play just as hard. If we can do that then this program will get better." 

Vista Grande caught a break as Hood fumbled the ball on the next play and the Spartans recovered the ball. The down side was that it was deep in their own territory and they eventually were pushed back to the 2-yard line when they punted the ball away.

San Tan Foothills began at the Spartans' 30-yard line and ended the drive with an 11-yard run by Soto.

Vista Grande's final scoring play was a 30-yard reception by Angel Valdez with 6:35 left in the game.

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Maria Vasquez is the Sports Editor for PinalCentral. She can be reached at mvasquez@pinalcentral.com.

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