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The Tucson Youth Football & Spirit Federation (TYFSF) Game of the Week featured the 11U semifinal game between No. 2 Sahuaro Wildcats and No. 4 Sunnyside SW Rams held at Tucson High on Saturday.
The Wildcats came away with a 12-6 win in overtime and will face No. 1 Oro Valley Dolphins in the City Championship game next Saturday.
11U City Playoffs
First Round, Nov. 7
No. 4 Rams 14, No. 1 Falcons 0
No. 2 Wildcats 13, No. 3 Redskins 0
No. 1 Dolphins 26, No. 4 Cowboys 0
No. 3 Vikings 26, No. 2 Raiders 20
Semifinals, Nov 14
No. 2 Wildcats 12, No. 4 Rams 6, OT
No. 1 Dolphins 26, No. 3 Vikings 0
Championship, Saturday: Nov. 21
No. 1 Dolphins vs. No. 2 Wildcats, 2 p.m.
The Rams defeated the Wildcats 6-0 at home on Oct. 10 and many people predicted the rematch would be just as close and they were right.
Each team was held under 150 yards of offense in the game despite some big plays including a 22-yard touchdown pass from Victor Rodriguez to Jacob Reyna to open up a 6-0 lead in the first quarter.
That score would hold up until Diego Banos scored from 15 yards out in the fourth quarter to tie the game up 6-6. Banos came alive in the fourth where he collected 56 of his game-high 74 yards rushing.
“The game was fun but I started to lose my breath,” the Sahuarita Middle School sixth grader said on his fourth-quarter heroics. “The line had the holes open and I ran hard.”
Both teams failed to connect on their extra point attempts so it looked like it would be decided in overtime but the Wildcats fumbled the ensuing kickoff and the Rams recovered at the 27 with only about a minute left in regulation.
The Rams were able to drive down to the 15 but they gave the ball back on downs after they failed to connect on long fourth down.
Each team would get chance from the 10-yard line and the Wildcats got the ball first. The Rams picked up a quick tackle and then a sack and the Wildcats were facing third down at the 15.
Rodriguez found Reyna again and the Desert Christian sixth grader took the catch for the touchdown. The extra point was no good and the Wildcats led 12-6.
“It was crazy,” Reyna said. “We ran a trick play that looks like a busted play from the start and it was my job to do what I was supposed to do.”
The Rams had a shot to tie it up but the team suffered two big losses after gaining three yards on the first play. The losses set up a fourth-and-goal at the 16 and an incomplete pass gave the Wildcats the 12-6 win and a spot in the 11U City Championship game.
Ritchie McCormack led the Wildcats with 42 yards rushing and Brady Beltz added 35 more. Rodriguez finished with 39 yards passing and two touchdowns. Reyna had 39 yards receiving.
For the Rams, Banos had his 74 and a touchdown while Sean Sierra added 43 and Nycholas McDaniel had 36.
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Andy Morales was recognized by the AIA as the top high school reporter in 2014 and has been a youth, high school and college coach for over 30 years. His own children have won multiple state high school championships and were named to all-state teams. Competing in hockey, basketball, baseball and track & field in high school, his unique perspective can only be found here, on AZPreps365.com and on the pages of the Vail Voice and the Tanque Verde Voice. Contact Andy Morales at AMoralesMyTucson@yahoo.com