It didn’t matter.
Joe Portaro directed a potent aerial attack, passing for 364 yards and three touchdowns as the Crusaders defeated visiting Legacy 37-23 in the Northwest League opener for both teams.
“It feels great,” Portaro said. “Last year we lost pretty bad in this game, but this year we just buckled down. We knew what we had to do to win.”
Last year, Legacy beat Faith Lutheran 39-6 on its way to the Northwest title.
But Portaro, who also had two 1-yard TD runs, completed 32 of 57 pass attempts to carry the Crusaders to only their second Northwest win. Faith Lutheran was 1-7 in its Northwest debut season last year.
“Now we believe in ourselves,” Portaro said. “(Legacy) is supposed to be one of the best teams, and now we’re saying to ourselves that we could potentially be in the playoffs. And we’re hoping to get there.”
Portaro threw a screen pass to Justin Dannan, who took it 16 yards for a touchdown with 9:11 to go in the third quarter to break a 16-16 tie and put Faith Lutheran ahead for good.
On the ensuing drive, Legacy’s Jordan Ireland broke off what appeared to be an 80-yard TD run, but the Longhorns were called for a block in the back 25 yards downfield.
Legacy fumbled on the next play and Faith Lutheran’s A.J. Kaplan recovered. Four plays later Portaro hit Devin Dolby for a 5-yard touchdown, and Portaro’s extra point made it 30-16.
“That’s a huge turnaround,” Faith Lutheran coach Jake Kothe said of Legacy’s nullified touchdown. “And then we come down and score. Certainly that was a big play and a big turnaround in the game.”
After Ireland returned a punt 79 yards for a TD to cut the lead to 30-23, the Longhorns again were hurt by an official’s whistle.
Legacy’s Quincey Lindsey picked off a Portaro pass and raced 51 yards for an apparent touchdown with 1:06 to go in the third quarter, but the play was ruled dead because of an inadvertent whistle.
Portaro, who had a 14-yard TD pass to Dolby in the second quarter, had plenty of time to find open receivers most of the game. The Longhorns sacked Portaro only once.
Portaro said the Crusaders’ offensive line put in plenty of work in the two weeks since the team’s opening 26-23 victory over Fountain Valley (Calif.).
“Every day they just got better and better,” Portaro said. “And today’s game, it can’t get better than that.”
Legacy’s D’Andre Hughes had an 80-yard TD run with 6.9 seconds to go in the first half. Aside from that run, Faith Lutheran limited the Longhorns to 172 rushing yards on 42 carries.
“The one big run’s going to eat at us, but that was just a breakdown in communication,” Kothe said. “That’s on me.”
Faith Lutheran’s Brett Lubbe caught nine passes for 72 yards and Don Pearson caught seven for 108 yards. Portaro made completions to seven receivers.
Hughes had 115 yards on seven carries to lead Legacy. Ireland supplied 104 on 31 attempts.
Durango 74, Bonanza 28 — At Bonanza, the No. 8 Trailblazers (2-1) gained an astonishing 756 yards and had three 100-yard rushers to rout the Bengals (0-2) in their Southwest League opener.
Julio Mora rushed for 279 yards, Donovan Smith 163 and Brandon Pena 106. Mora ran for three scores and caught a TD pass, Smith ran for two scores and made two TD catches, and Pena had a 10-yard TD run.
Senior running back Dasean Martin accounted for 266 yards and all four Bonanza touchdowns, including receptions of 45, 15 and 52 yards from Sterling Sprau.
Izaiah Thurmon rushed for 147 yards on 12 carries and scored on runs of 34, 15 and 7 yards. Steven Scamorza supplied 132 yards on three carries, including an 80-yard TD that answered Eldorado’s first score and gave Silverado a 21-7 lead in the first quarter.
Savon Moniz was 8 of 14 passing for 131 yards and a touchdown for Silverado, and Garren Albright threw for 68 yards and a TD.
The Skyhawks got two second-half touchdowns on special teams, with Scamorza returning a kickoff 86 yards and Dominic Molina returning a punt 52 yards. Alec Acevedo supplied a 41-yard interception return for a score.
Eldorado quarterback JaQuorrey Williams scored on an 11-yard run and passed for 190 yards and a score. Brett VanOrden had five catches for 110 yards.
Murphy scored Sierra Vista’s first points of the season with a 3-yard TD run with five seconds to go in the first quarter. He added a 9-yard TD run with 10:14 to go in the game.
Sierra Vista’s Gene Germaine added a 3-yard TD run in the second quarter for the Mountain Lions, who limited Pahrump to six first downs, two of which came via penalty.
It was Pahrump’s 20th consecutive loss and the Trojans now are 0-17 in Southwest League games.
Marshall had TD runs of 26, 4, 30 and 6 yards.
Cimarron’s defense forced four turnovers and limited the Desert Shields (0-1, 0-1 Northwest) to 172 yards of total offense.
Robinson’s interception return late in the first half sparked the Spartans to touchdowns on four of the next five drives. Christian Brown scored on a 2-yard plunge with 26 seconds left in the first half and finished with 100 yards on the ground.
Gerard Martinez found Robinson in the end zone for a TD on the Spartans first drive of the second half, and added a 1-yard touchdown run early in the fourth quarter to help seal the game. Taz Taiopu added a 14-yard TD run for the Spartans.
Cheyenne took the early lead when Kenneth Counts hit Tyler Spight on a 26-yard touchdown pass to cap a 16-play opening drive, but failed to score again.
Six players scored for Liberty, and the Patriots held the Grizzlies to 120 total yards.
The game was marred by penalities, as the teams combined for 25 penalities for 227 yards.
Evan Zeger returned the opening kickoff 97 yards for a score. After Clark (0-2) punted, Zeger took a pass from Solomon 87 yards for another touchdown.
Shaquille Powell led Gorman with 98 yards rushing on four carries, including a 65-yard TD run in the first quarter.
Keplinger had a 2-yard scoring run in the first quarter, and added a 31-yard dash for a TD in the third quarter.
Foothill quarter back Parker Riggin completed 22 of 29 passes for 228 yards, including a 27-yard scoring strike to running back Connor Afoa. Afoa added a 7-yard TD run in the first quarter.
Leon Hayes rushed for 118 yards on nine carries for Desert Pines, including a 65-yard scamper for a TD.
Wright scored on 41-, 2-, and 32-yard runs in the first quarter to pace Palo Verde to an early 21-0 lead.
Joshua Symonette sacked Mojave quarterback Trevonte Veal in the end zone for a safety, and Austin Whalen returned a fumble eight yards for a TD that gave the Panthers a 28-0 lead after the first quarter.
Jonathan Maxwell capped an 84-yard drive with a 25-yard TD run early in the second quarter to put Palo Verde up 35-0.
The Panthers added two more TDs in the second quarter on Demetrius Ballard’s 24-yard fumble return and a 27-yard run by Arie McQuaig to push the lead to 49-0, beginning the running clock with 4:38 left in the first half.
Eric South finished a six-play, 65-yard drive with a 3-yard TD scamper for Palo Verde’s final score in the third quarter.
Desert Oasis 49, Western 6 — At Western, the Diamondbacks piled up 311 yards in the first half en route to 463 in the game in a rout of the Warriors (1-1, 0-1 Southwest).
Kambrenn Heatley rushed for 167 yards on 17 carries to lead the way for Desert Oasis (2-1, 1-0 Southwest), which limited Western to 25 total yards in the second half.
Devin Fortenberry added 88 yards and three touchdowns on 10 carries for the Diamondbacks.
Tadarrel Mason led Western with 105 yards on 11 carries, including an 83-yard TD run on the team’s first play from scrimmage.
Shadow Ridge 39, Chaparral 6 — At Chaparral, Nick McDearmon passed for 109 yards and two touchdowns to help the Mustangs (2-0) defeat the Cowboys (0-2).
Austin Jones had 50 receiving yards, including a 32-yard TD catch from McDearmon.
Shadow Ridge kicker Braden Williams booted field goals of 38, 26, 33 and 29 yards.
Coronado 42, Sunrise Mountain 7 — At Coronado, Christopher Johnson’s four touchdowns carried Coronado to a 28-0 halftime lead, and the Cougars (1-1) cruised past the Miners (0-2).
Sunrise Mountain’s Robert Kelichner returned a fumble for a touchdown in the third quarter, but Coronado’s Cody Mucino returned the ensuing kickoff for a score. Matthew Knapp’s 15-yard strike to Mucino late in the quarter finished the scoring.
Virgin Valley 47, The Meadows 6 — At The Meadows, the Bulldogs (2-1) rolled to a 40-6 halftime lead and defeated the Mustangs (0-2).
Virgin Valley quarterback Humberto Urias passed for 90 yards and a touchdown and rushed for 63 yards and one score. He also intercepted a pass at linebacker.
Richard Vidal ran for two 3-yard touchdowns in the second quarter and finished with 54 yards on 10 carries, helping the Class 3A Bulldogs outgain the 2A Mustangs, 402-187.
The Meadows’ Garrett Gosse completed 13 of 32 passes for 121 yards and one TD for the Mustangs, who had only 4 rushing yards at halftime.
Austin Brown caught six passes for 78 yards, including a 25-yard TD in the first quarter.
The two-time defending 2A state champion Mustangs are 0-2 for the first time since 2004.
Mountain Crest (Utah) 51, Las Vegas 7 — At Hyrum, Utah, Alex Kuresa passed for six touchdowns and ran for another as Mountain Crest (3-1) scored the final 51 points to rout the Wildcats (2-1).
Las Vegas scored early on an 86-yard pass from Hasaan Henderson to Cameron Rogers, but Mountain Crest dominated after that.
Kuresa threw TD passes to five receivers and ran for a 1-yard score as the Mustangs compiled more than 500 yards.
Diamond Ranch (Utah) 40, Calvary Chapel 0 — At Henderson International, Jon Alkin rushed for three touchdowns and returned a punt 64 yards for another score to lift the Diamondbacks over the Lions (0-2).
Diamond Ranch had 333 yards, led by Aklin, who rushed for 167 and touchdowns 7, 23 and 16 yards.
Senior quarterback Cody Taylor accounted for 133 of Calvary Chapel’s 140 yards.
Hansen scored on runs of 52 and 3 yards in the first quarter and punt returns of 20 and 46 in the second. Pahranagat Valley did all of its scoring in the first half.
Cody Hosier completed 6 of 8 passes for 122 yards, hooking up with Kade Wadsworth for a 16-yard touchdown and Tyler Higbee for a 38-yard score.
Austin Poulsen added a 2-yard touchdown run.
La Jolla Country Day (Calif.) 37, Mountain View 14 — At La Jolla, Calif., Justyn Anderson scored on runs of 10 and 14 yards for the Saints (1-2) after the Torreys (1-1) led 37-0 in the third quarter.
Eduardo Garcia rushed for three TDs and caught a pass for another for La Jolla Country Day. Ruben Pena threw a 5-yard scoring pass to Garcia and a 10-yarder to Colin McMahon in the first quarter. Garcia followed with TD runs of 10, 6 and 3 yards in the second.