September 23, 2016 (Scottsdale, AZ) – The Notre Dame Prep Saints (3-2) came off the bye week to host Pasadena LaSalle HS (4-1) in an interstate battle and came up on the short end of a 28-25 score that required 3OT to determine the final outcome. Both teams battled all night long, but in the end the Saints could not finish off the Lancers after building a 25-0 lead in the 3rd quarter.
The Saints started off like a well-rested team that was ready to play when RB Jake Smith took the opening kick and returned it 67yds to the Lancers 34. QB Cameron Yowell hit WR Blake Storey for a 1st down and a run by WR Justin Mascheck set up the Saints with a 1st & goal from the Lancers 8. Three plays later, RB Drew Jackse finished the drive with a 3yd TD and a 6-0 Saints lead. The Saints defense forced LaSalle punts on both 1st quarter possessions to preserve the lead and a missed FG on the Lancers first scoring opportunity in the 2nd quarter. The Lancers defense also proved resilient after yielding the score on the opening drive and settled in to force Saints punts on consecutive series. But after the missed FG by LaSalle, Yowell led the Saints on a 9-play, 80yd drive that he closed out with a 3yd TD run to increase the lead to 12-0. Notre Dame Prep caught the Lancers sleeping with an onsides kick which it recovered on the LaSalle 49. QB Kylan Weisser engineered an 8-play, 49 yd scoring drive that featured runs by RB Cole Fisher and Jackse, this time with Fisher doing the honors with a TD run of 5yds. The Saints failed to convert the PAT and the lead stood 18-0 at halftime.
LaSalle came out for the 2nd half with more purpose and on their opening drive moved quickly inside the Saints 10 thanks to 15yd penalty on the NDP defense and a 30yd pass play from QB Jake Caan to WR Harrison MacDonald. But on 1st & goal from the NDP 1yd line, DE Collin Taylor recovered a fumble by Lancer RB Amon Milliner to end the threat. Yowell took the Saints 99yds in 7 plays, capping the drive with a 39yd TD pass to Mascheck. K Clay Donaghey's PAT made the score 25-0 and the Saints appeared to be in full control. The Lancers needed to answer quickly or the bus ride back to Pasadena was going to be a long one, and respond they did. Starting their next drive from their own 9, La Salle moved to midfield thanks to another 15yd penalty on the NDP defense and a 26yd strike from Caan to WR Myles Bailey. Then Milliner popped free from a few Saints defenders and dashed 50yds for the visitors first score of the night, cutting the lead to 25-7. The Saints got great field position on the LaSalle 44, but failed to get a 1st down and punted away a chance to extend their lead. Caan and Milliner took over from there, both doing most of the work on a 14-play, 91yd drive that ended with Caan's 3yd TD pass to MacDonald. The 2pt conversion pass from Caan to Bailey pulled the Lancers within 2 scores at 25-15 as the game heading into the 4th quarter. The Saints moved into LaSalle territory on their next drive, but the Lancers got their 1st turnover of the night with an interception on a deep pass inside their 20. LaSalle wasted little time in finding the end zone again, this time Milliner rushed 45yds to pull within 25-22. After a 3 and out by NDP, the Lancers tied the game on a 42yd FG by K Johnny Clazizio with just over 5 minutes to play. The Saints looked to answer with one final drive and were moving into LaSalle territory, but a fumbled pitch was recovered by the Lancers and the team that trailing 25-0 now had a chance to win in regulation. Fortunately, the Saints defense forced a Lancers punt and the game headed to overtime. LaSalle got the ball first in OT from the 10yd line and when LB Vince Elrod stripped Milliner and recovered the fumble in the end zone, the stage was set for a Saints victory. The Saints three running plays from the 10 failed to end the game, so Donaghey entered to attempt a 19yd FG to win, but it sailed wide right to give life to LaSalle. The Saints failed to score on the second OT series after Weisser's 4th down pass fell incomplete, and LaSalle sent out Clarizio on 1st down to attempt a 27yd FG for the win. His kick pulled left and now it was the Saints that had been given new life! In the 3rd OT, Clarizio did connect on a 22yd FG to give LaSalle its first lead at 28-25. For the Saints, three Fisher runs gained 8 yards and left the NDP staff with a decision to go for the win or attempt a game-tying FG. Opting to go for the win, the Saints hearts were broken when Yowell's 4th down pass was intercepted by DB Wyatt Cimino to seal the improbable win for LaSalle, 28-25.
The Saints have little time to dwell on the defeat as the 5A East Valley conference schedule opens this week with a familiar foe – the Chaparral Firebirds (2-3). The Scottsdale rivals didn't play each other last season, but these two schools have a long history and this game could determine the conference champion, which also carries the automatic playoff berth. Chaparral may have stumbled early this season, but this is a team that the Saints won't take lightly and expect to get great game from a talented team. The game is schedule for September 30th at Bemis Field at 7pm.