Saints improve to 3-3 with win over Shadow Mountain

The Notre Dame high school football team kicked off its 2015-16 campaign with a victory against Tolleson. (Submitted photo)

The Notre Dame high school football team. (Submitted photo)

Behind solid quarterback play and a late touchdown, the Notre Dame Preparatory High School football team defeated Shadow Mountain High School 31-28 on Friday, Oct. 2.

The win was the first for the Notre Dame varsity football team at the new Scot A. Bemis Field.

“Our guys settled in and played good football in all three phases,” head coach Mark Nolan said in an Oct. 5 phone interview. “We didn’t have that long period of time where we’re kind of sorting ourselves out. We were able to settle in and play ball. It’s nice to score first and play from ahead and then ultimately we still had to come back and win in a come-from-behind victory.”

In its third game of the 2015 season, Notre Dame (3-3) fell to Bradshaw Mountain 36-35 and Coach Nolan says his young team learned from the experience.

“When you’ve got a bunch of young, inexperienced guys, just being in that situation as many times as possible will help you get used to it and comfortable dealing with game-changing plays and crunch time,” he said. “You can talk about that all you want, but until you’re in it and live and play in that, you can’t replicate that in practice.”

The Saints were led by sophomore quarterback Kylan Weisser, who completed 19 of 25 passes for 181 yards and two touchdowns, according to MaxPreps.com. Weisser added 60 yards on 11 attempts, including the game-winning touchdown.

“He just did a really good job of running around making plays with his legs and making plays with his arm,” Coach Nolan said. “He’s a strong-armed kid and he was able to push the ball down the field and get some explosion plays there. We were able to get some explosion plays with a short catch and catch-and-runs. We just did a much better job offensively of taking care of the football and making some big plays.”

The Saints opened up the scoring in their second game at Bemis Field with an 18-yard touchdown pass from Weisser to sophomore wide receiver Blake Storey.

The Matadors (2-4) answered with a six-yard toss from junior quarterback Darion Spottsville to junior tight end Anthony Rodriguez to tie the game at seven in the first quarter.

The Saints led 14-7 at the end of the first quarter thanks to a nine-yard rushing touchdown from senior running back Connor Graham. After a second quarter score from Shadow Mountain, the Saints trailed 21-17 at halftime.

In the third quarter, Weisser tossed an 18-yard touchdown pass to senior wide receiver Jeffrey Kindorf to give the Saints a 24-21 lead heading into the fourth quarter.

The Matadors opened up scoring in the fourth quarter with a 36-yard touchdown pass from Spottsville to senior wide receiver/running back Tommy Rychener.

Trailing 28-24 with an under a minute left, according to MaxPreps.com, the Saints’ Weisser found the end zone on a six-yard rush to give the home team a 31-28 victory.

The Saints, now 3-3 and 1-0 in their section, know they need to keep winning in order to make the playoffs.

The next challenge for the Saints is a game at Paradise Valley High School (6-0). Notre Dame senior linebacker Tyler Taffuri says it is important for the Saints to stay focused on the task at hand.

“It’s easy to get lost and think a couple weeks ahead and think, ‘Alright, we’re gonna win, win, win,’” he said in an Oct. 5 phone interview. “We’ve got to focus on PV because they’re a good team and they’re going to take all of our energy to defeat. That’s our main goal- taking it week by week- and this week’s goal is to beat PV.”

Scottsdale Independent Sports Correspondent Justin Maskulinski can be contacted at jmaskulinski@newszap.com. Follow him on twitter at twitter.com/Maskulinski.

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