Updated: Nov 30, 2021
Vista Grande (2-1) set a new school record for most points scored in the Spartans’ 70-24 victory against Shadow Mountain (0-3) at Victory Stadium on Friday. Senior wide receiver Tyrese Constable scored six touchdowns and rushed for 223 yards.
Constable was elusive, shredding tackles while breaking off seven runs over 20 yards. On his first touch, Constable scored on a jet sweep for a 39-yard touchdown to tie the game at 6-6.
“The football gods rewarded him,” Spartans coach Jon Roberts said. “Our goal is to get him to the second level because he's a very explosive athlete.”
He added to his effort by rushing for 26-yard and 35-yard touchdowns and catching a 22-yard touchdown from sophomore quarterback Darnell Castro to help the Spartans take a 41-24 halftime lead. Castro finished the night completing 2 of 9 passes for 34 yards, while throwing an interception and rushing for a 5-yard touchdown. Their teammates joined in on the rushing attack, running for three touchdowns. Vista Grande rushed for 514 total rushing yards.
The Spartans struggled to stop the Matadors in the first half. Averaging 6.5 points per game coming in, Shadow Mountain’s offense exploded, scoring 24 points in the first half. Despite being sacked four times and pressured all night, sophomore quarterback Nico Alvarez kept his composure.
“(Alvarez) is going to be good,” Roberts said. “He extends plays very well, and he was giving us issues.”
Alvarez led a 10-play, 64-yard drive on their opening drive, hitting senior wide receiver Carson Becktold twice that led to a 4-yard touchdown pass to sophomore wide receiver Joey Meyn. Despite Vista Grande scoring quickly on possessions, Alvarez kept responding.
“My teammates trusted me, and I trusted them,” Alvarez said. “We had momentum.”
Alvarez avoided rushers to escape the pocket to throw a laser to junior wide receiver Julian Collins (CQ) for a 31-yard touchdown. He also threw 39-yard and 79-yard touchdowns to Becktold, who finished the night with eight catches for 217 yards.
“My hat's off to (Becktold),” Roberts said. “He played excellent and has a hell of a heart.”
The Matadors were anemic on offense, going scoreless in the second half. On the opening possession of the half, Alvarez threw an interception, and on the next drive, the Spartans forced a safety to take a 50-24 lead. He finished the night completing 19 of 36 passes for 323 yards and fumbling four times.
Entering Friday’s game, the Matadors’ defense allowed 56.5 points and 313 rushing yards per game. Their defensive woes continued. The Spartans scored on seven drives that involved no more than five plays. The Matadors were also penalized 16 times, extending drives for the Spartans and negating big gains and touchdowns for Shadow Mountain. Matadors coach Ron Fagan declined to comment.
While Shadow Mountain struggled in the second half, its offense is confident heading into next week thanks to their first-half performance.
“(We have to) continue the (intensity),” Becktold said. “Exactly that but for four quarters.”
The Matadors (0-3) will host the North Mustangs (2-2) at 7 p.m. Friday. Meanwhile, the Spartans (2-1) will play at San Tan Foothills (0-5) at 7 p.m. Friday.
Derrian Carter is a graduate student pursuing a master's degree in sports journalism, who is enrolled in MCO 502 – Journalism Skills at Arizona State University. Email Derrian at: email@example.com.