It was a cross-town showdown Sept. 13 as Shadow Ridge defeated their hometown rival Willow Canyon by a score of 43-14 in their second home game of the season.
Shadow Ridge was coming off of a commanding win against Phoenix North High the week prior, while the Willow Canyon Wildcats entered Stallion Stadium sporting a 2-0 record. From the start, the Stallions that made their mark on both sides of the ball.
An early fumble by Willow Canyon allowed the Shadow Ridge offense to strike first at the beginning of the second quarter, with an eight -yard rushing touchdown from senior running back Michael Clark. Clark put on a lights-out performance, finishing the game with 261 rushing yards and four rushing touchdowns.
“I just try and keep the same mentality every game, and never forget the final goal,” Clark said.
Willow Canyon’s offense struggled early, moving the chains for the first time early in the second quarter. The Stallions defensive line, led by Senior defensive end Jayden Jackson, kept continuous pressure in the back field, forcing the Wildcats to punt on their first four possessions.
The Stallions added another Clark touchdown just before halftime, only to have it answered by an 80-yard catch-and-run touchdown from Willow Canyon’s senior quarterback Josh Ormond and senior four-star college recruit Darvon Hubbard. The running back ended the night with 146 all-purpose yards.
The Stallions headed into the locker room with a 13-8 lead. Willow Canyon’s offensive struggles continued in the second half, with an interception from Ormond by senior Josh Cano in the opening possession.
The Stallions relentless defense continued on outside coverage, forcing Willow into trouble near their own goal line. Defensive pressure resulted in a safety to extend the Stallions’ lead.
The Wildcats strung together a drive capped off with Ormond sending a deep ball to senior running back Jonathan HagEstad in the end zone to cut the deficit to 15 points. From then on until the final minutes of the closing quarter, it was all Shadow Ridge.
After a pair of Clark touchdowns, it was junior defensive end Dylan Jones that came up with a strip sack and fumble recovery return for a touchdown. The fumble recovery was the icing on the cake for Jones, who got two sacks on Ormond as well as two tackles for loss.
“We always play together as a team, I’m glad I could come up with some good plays for the defense,” said Jones.
Willow Canyon was unable to climb out of the 29-point deficit and received its first loss of the season. The Wildcats will stay in Surprise for their other local showdown, hosting Valley Vista on Sept. 20.
The Stallions have a bye that night, then play host to Tolleson Union on Sept. 27.
Editor's Note: Donovan Johnson and Ian Lakandula are Shadow Ridge High School TheRIOT Yearbook student reporters under the direction of advisor Casey Hinde