Canyon Del Oro marched to a semifinal showdown with Scottsdale Chaparral, using the fleet feet of Griffin Ronstadt and Ka’Deem Carey to open a lead, then fending off Paradise Valley 27-20 in 4A-1 playoff action last Friday in Phoenix.
The 11-1 Dorados advance to play 11-1 Scottsdale Chaparral at 3 p.m. this Friday at Phoenix North Canyon High School.
The sixth-seeded Dorados’ ground game shredded the run defense of the #3 Trojans, amassing 359 yards rushing.
Ronstadt, a senior, led the charge, averaging nearly 10 yards a touch, and ending the game with 210 yards on 19 carries. He also scored on a touchdown run from six yards out.
Sophomore Carey, back in the lineup after missing last week’s game against Prescott, made an impressive return, scoring on a 12-yard run and finishing with 129 yards rushing.
Senior kicker Nick Marshall added nine points, kicking 24- and 40-yard field goals, as well as three extra points.
The Dorados defense was effective against the Paradise Valley rush, holding Paradise Valley’s much-hyped running backs, Tyree Parker and Jake Brown, to under 100 yards apiece.
CDO’s passing game made little impact. Quarterback Doug Steele, averaging more than 150 yards passing a game, completed five passes for 48 yards. Steele scored the game’s first points on a 1-yard quarterback sneak in the second quarter.
Paradise Valley’s pass game did little better against a veteran Dorado secondary headed by Josh Robbins and Ryan Retz, gaining 103 yards through the air.
Despite CDO’s dominance on the ground, the game was in question until the last moments, as a late fourth quarter Trojan rally erased much of the Dorados’ 27-7 lead.
Two quick scores by the Trojans brought the game to 27-20 with about three minutes left, but the Dorado defense stiffened, stifling any hopes of a Paradise Valley comeback.
Next up for CDO will be a trip to neutral-site North Canyon to take on the #2-seed Scottsdale Chaparral. The Firebirds boast a record identical to that of the Dorados, 11-1, having lost to #1 Scottsdale Saguaro in mid-October.
One note: the Dorados and Firebirds played three of the same opponents in 2008, Marana, Cienega and Prescott.
The Dorados won all three games by a combined score of 129-62. The Firebirds also won out, managing fewer points, 123, but giving up fewer with 27.
• Canyon Del Oro High School, 11-1, will take on Scottsdale Chaparral, 11-1, at 3 p.m. this Friday at Phoenix North Canyon High School