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Looking at the late touchdown pass by Saguaro

Posted by on September 2, 2011 – 9:49 am

Thunderbird’s coaching staff wasn’t happy when Saguaro used a play-action pass on third down for a 52-yard score with 2:18 remaining for the Sabercats’ 10th touchdown of the night in a 70-21 victory on Thursday at Saguaro.

One Thunderbird coach mock clapped after the score, and Saguaro coach John Sanders — who doesn’t call the offensive plays — was quick to talk to offensive coordinator Jason Mohns about the play-call.

In the postgame handshake, a few of the Thunderbird coaches commented to Sanders and Mohns about the decision, and both took responsibility for it, agreeing that it was a bad call.

Mohns obviously felt bad, apologizing on our website and elsewhere to Thunderbird for the decision.

Saguaro has been accused of running up the score before, but I think this one was less malicious. The Sabercats didn’t play D.J. Foster on offense after he scored his sixth touchdown with 8:39 left in the third quarter, and it was mostly rushing attempts by backups in the final quarter.

Thunderbird kept in star running backs Kani Benoit and Connor Hustead deep into the fourth, so it’s not like the Chiefs laid down and played dead near the end of the game.

Was it a bad play-call? Certainly. The worst part of it was that Ryan Merrill caught the touchdown pass. He may not be an integral part of the offense, but he’s a star linebacker and is not someone who needs to be in the game at all at that point. If this was a sophomore tight end that was learning the system, Saguaro could be excused for getting some more repetitions for its younger guys late in the game. Having Merrill catch it was just piling it on.

Mohns is in his first year as offensive coordinator for the Sabercats and perhaps was a bit overzealous with the playcall, but judging by his immediate contrition, it didn’t seem like he was intentionally running up the score.

Saguaro is a divisive program because it often doesn’t apologize for controversial decisions on the field or elsewhere. This time, the coaching staff did, so it should be given the benefit of the doubt.

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