October 28, 2016 (Scottsdale, AZ) – The Notre Dame Prep Saints (8-2, 4-0) wrapped up their 2016 season with a convincing 40-13 win over the Vista Grande Spartans (2-8, 0-4) on Homecoming night at Bemis Field. For twelve NDP seniors it was their final game in a Saints. Sr RB Drew Jackse once again led the Saints offensive attack with 221yds rushing and 3TDs (2rush/1rec) and Sr QB Cameron Yowell added 139yds passing and 2TDs through the air. The Saints defense forced 2 interceptions and recorded 4 sacks in harassing the Spartans offensive unit all night long.
A sluggish 1st quarter yielded only a 25yd FG from Sr K Clay Donaghey on the Saints' opening drive, but the offense warmed up quickly in the 2nd quarter when Jackse scored on a 16yd run after the Saints took over on the Spartans 23. Donaghey's PAT gave the Saints a 10-0 lead. The Spartans were forced to punt by the NDP defense and the Saints went back to work at their own 38. Jackse ripped off a 54yd run to set up a 1st & goal from the Spartans 8, and DT/FB Vic Annoreno rumbled in from 7yds out to extend the lead to 17-0. The Spartans found some life on the following series and put together a 10-play, 77yd scoring drive to close the gap to 17-7 at halftime.
The Saints received the 2nd half kickoff and Yowell connected with WR Blake Storey for a 69yd TD pass to ignite the Homecoming crowd. The Saints elected to go for the 2pt conversion and Sr. OL Andrew Nadolski plowed in from 3yds out with a little help from his friends for a 25-7 lead. The Saints forced a 3-and-out punt for the Spartans and a great return by WR Justin "Mouse" Maschek set up the offense at the Vista Grande 17. Yowell delivered his 2nd TD pass on the night finding a wide open Jackse in the right flat for a 15yd score. Yowell then connected with WR Jordan Stengel on a 2pt pass for a 33-7 lead. An exchange of punts ended the 3rd quarter and the Saints entered their final 12 minutes of their season. A turnover on downs in the red zone by the Saints was followed by a Saints defensive turnover on an interception by Stengel at the NDP 33. Jackse runs of 23yds and 28yds moved the Saints inside the 20, and a Yowell to Storey pass set up 1st & goal from the Spartans 4. But the drive ended with the only blemish on the night as OL Mike Girardin fumbled attempting to score from the 2. Sr DB Eric Muro intercepted the Spartans on the next play and returned it to the 14. From there Jackse did the rest on two carries with his 3rd TD covering 3yds. Donaghey added the PAT for a 40-7 lead. The Spartans answered with a 74yd scoring drive, scoring on a 20yd TD pass with less than a minute to play to provide the final score of 40-13.
Although the season ended without this team having the opportunity to compete in the AIA 5A playoffs as the #10 ranked team in the state, there were many accomplishments to celebrate on this night. The 12 seniors that helped restore the NDP program went out as winners and set the stage for the future. The 8-2 record was the school's best record since the 2010 team posted 11 wins. They were the 5A NE Valley Region champions, going undefeated in conference play, defeated Chaparral for the 1st time in school history and finished with a 5-game winning streak. Four (4) school records are now held by this 2016 team – most points scored in a single game (76 vs PV), most TDs in a single game (11 vs PV), single season rushing YPG avg (265yds per game) and 100+yd rushing game in a season (7). Thank you to all the coaches who spent endless hours with these players, to the Dog Pound who supported loudly each week and to the parents who made sure these boys were fed every week. Congratulations Saints for a great season!