PHOENIX — It was a marathon game for Vista Grande and Phoenix Shadow Mountain; aside from a high scoring match, it also lasted over three hours.
Following a sloppy first half by both teams, which were called for countless penalties, it was the Spartans who buckled down in the second half and walked away with the 70-24 victory.
The Matadors (0-3) had no response for Vista Grande senior Tyrese Constable as he scored six touchdowns on the night. At the half Constable had already rushed for 140 yards on four carries, with three rushing touchdowns and one receiving touchdown.
“Overall I think the team had a great week of preparation,” Vista Grande coach Jon Roberts said. “We made some young mistakes on defense that really just gave them some big plays early on. It took us about a half to get the adjustments done on defense but early on, on the offensive level, we just saw that if we get the second level they have nobody near the speed of Tyrese.”
The defense also came up with some big plays, as Angel Chaydez was involved in pushing the Matadors back with three tackles for big yardage loss.
The Spartans (2-1) led 41-24 to start the second half and came out ready to put the game away with Fernando Moya doing most of the heavy lifting in their first possession of the half.
The freshman capped off the seven play drive with a 2-yard rushing touchdown.
Shadow Mountain briefly had the ball after the kickoff, as quarterback Nico Alvarez was picked off by Michael Contreras on the first play.
Vista Grande’s next drive ended near the endzone as Darnell Castro was picked off Arturo Nubez as the Matadors started their drive at their own 7-yard line.
After some miscues by Alvarez and his running back, Shadow Mountain was back at the 1-yard line when the Spartan defense got the safety to extend the lead to 50-24.
“I just told them that the word for this game is when, when are we going to play a complete half of football in all facets of the game,” Roberts said of his halftime speech to the team. “We needed to have this half regardless of what the score was showing, we needed to play a complete game on offense and defense, and that’s why they didn’t score any more.”
In the first half Alvarez was 11-for-20, with 249 passing yards and four touchdowns.
His go-to target was Carson Becktold, who caught six receptions for 193 yards and two touchdowns.
Becktold was mostly a non-factor in the second half after Vista Grande made the defensive adjustments.
The rest of the half was all about the Vista Grande offense as Constable rushed for a 20-yard score and Castro added a 5-yard scoring run.
Constable would only need one play in the fourth quarter with under five minutes remaining as he capped off his night with a 53-yard run.
“Overall the guys bounced back,” Roberts said. “Considering what we faced the previous week, it was very humbling loss and for them to have a great week at practice and to play like this, I’m very proud of the team and the coaches. They did an excellent job.”
Roberts added that the team has already experienced a big win earlier this season, and they will not make the same mistakes twice.
“We’re going to keep it level,” he said. “We’re going to be onto San Tan Foothills after Saturday. We’re not going to get too high or too low.”