CASA GRANDE — The offensive game plan for the Vista Grande football team in Friday night’s home finale against Tucson Catalina Foothills was to throw the ball on almost every down.
The strategy initially was successful, as the Spartans drove 80 yards in 11 plays for a touchdown that produced a 7-7 tie with 5:37 remaining in the first quarter. Everything went downhill in a hurry after that, however, and Vista Grande fell to 0-8 on the season with a 61-14 Class 4A Kino Region loss to the Falcons.
“We had some positives, but not many,” said Vista Grande coach Chris Semore. “We were bad in every aspect, and that’s on me.”
Catalina Foothills (3-4, 1-1 region) returned two of its three interceptions for touchdowns. Their quarterback Will Parker threw four touchdown passes on 11 completions, including a 67-yarder to Derrick Williams. Parker also had a 64-yard TD run for the Falcons, who finished with 462 total yards (238 rushing, 224 passing).
“We missed so many tackles (that) I couldn’t keep count,” Semore said.
Donald Altaffer attempted 47 passes for the Spartans (0-3 region), completing 21 for 196 yards. Christopher Hernandez had six catches for 82 yards, with his final reception going for an 11-yard touchdown.
The Falcons led 33-14 at halftime and outscored Vista Grande 28-0 in the second half. Catalina Foothills’ point total was a season high for a Vista Grande opponent, and it marked the fourth time the Spartans have allowed 50-plus points.
The game began with a 52-yard kickoff return by Zach Ford that allowed the Falcons to begin at the VG 23. On third and 15, Parker connected with Enrique Perez for a 28-yard touchdown.
Altaffer completed eight consecutive passes on the ensuing series, including a 32-yarder to Hernandez to the Catalina Foothills 2-yard line. Following a 1-yard loss on Vista Grande’s first running play of the game, Carson Meiner caught a 3-yard touchdown pass.
The Falcons then scored 26 unanswered points. They went ahead to stay on a 6-yard touchdown run by Gavin Sowers with 2:03 left in the first quarter. Then came Julian Paukune’s 51-yard interception return touchdown, Parker’s long scoring run and a 52-yard pick-six by Max Duenas.
Catalina Foothills was at the Vista Grande 1 when time ran out in the first half.
Williams caught four passes for 124 yards and two touchdowns. Sowers rushed for 83 yards on 17 carries, and Parker gained 79 yards on six attempts.
Of Vista Grande’s 61 total plays, only nine were designated rushing tries. Altaffer was sacked four times.
The Spartans are off next week before closing the season with road games against No. 3 Oro Valley Canyon del Oro and No. 1 Tucson Salpointe Catholic.