With less than a minute to play in the first half and his team trailing by a touchdown, Canyon Del Oro junior running back Ka'Deem Carey took a pitch running left, cut all the way across the field, passed every Glendale Apollo defender, and streaked 71 yards for the game-tying score.
"Did you see that?" one fan said to another.
The jaw-dropping, momentum-changing run, with 36 seconds left in the first half, was just the longest gallop in a record-setting night for Carey. The Dorados scored 49 unanswered points in a handy, 63-35 second-round playoff win, and along the way Carey set a Southern Arizona single-game rushing record, amassing 427 electrifying yards on 28 carries and scoring six touchdowns on runs of 49, 71, 13, 3, 25 and 57 yards.
Undefeated, 11-0 CDO plays Cienega in a 7 p.m. Friday 4A-1 semifinal game at Tucson High School.
"I felt we needed some momentum," Carey said after the contest. "That touchdown helped us."
All of Carey's skills and gifts were on display Friday night, among them the abilities to take a hit and bounce off it, to see the field and a clear path, and to run faster than anyone out there.
CDO has been seldom challenged this season, but Apollo, paced by the play of strong-armed quarterback Jon Brown, fought the home team to a tie score at the half.
"We needed to wake up and play with fire," said safety Jared Tevis. "For some reason, we come out with more fire in the second half than the first." CDO wasted little time taking the lead in the second half. Carey scored on a 14-yard run on the first series to make it 28-21.
Then the defense took over. A sack ended one series. David Studer knocked down a pass that forced a punt. Then, Studer blocked the punt, which set up a Mike Lewis touchdown run.
Minutes later, Carey took the ball and flew into the end zone from three yards out to make it 42-21.
"We were a little banged up in the secondary," said CDO coach Dustin Peace. "We opened up a lot. Getting that touchdown out of the gate (second half) that made Apollo's defense play differently."
Tevis had an interception which squelched any possible momentum the Hawks might've gotten.
"Coach told us at halftime to focus, and have fun," Tevis said. "I tried to just fly around like I always do and make plays."
Quarterback Lewis completed five of nine for 77 yards and no picks. He also ran for 34 yards and three scores of his own, on runs of 12, 7 and 1 yard. Lewis scored CDO's first touchdown, running untouched after a deft fake to Carey, the focus of Apollo attention. Kelton Beattie caught four passes for 60 yards.
The Hawks showed why they only lost two games with their offensive output. Brown completed 21 of 36 for 250 yards, two touchdowns and an interception. He added 50 yards rushing. David Gonzales caught nine passes for 95 yards and two touchdowns.
"They're a good team," Peace said. "He's the best throwing quarterback we've seen all year."
What about playing perennial playoff team Cienega?
"It should be a fun game," Peace said.