By Dale Watkins
Jordan Brookshire and Isaiah Steele would meet head-to-head on a rainy Friday night in a duel of electrifying North Bay League quarterbacks. However, it was Brookshire who would prevail easily, leading his Cardinals to an overwhelming 42-7 rout of the visiting Panthers.
The Cardinals wasted absolutely no time opening the floodgates of their explosive offensive firepower. Chauncy LeBerthon’s 43-yard opening kickoff return set up Brookshire to hustle 23 yards through a big hole and in for the evening’s first touchdown. After a Panther turnover on downs on their first drive, Newman’s Tanner Mendoza took the handoff and spurted away from several defenders for his own 24-yard TD run. Brookshire called his own number on their next possession and blasted straight ahead nine yards and into the endzone to make it a quick 21-0 Cardinals lead. The game was only seven minutes underway.
Newman defensive lineman Donovan Collins starred on the offensive side of the ball on this night. After a Jason Moran 25-yard catch to set up great field position, Collins took the handoff, pinballed off a multitude of Panthers, broke a tackle by the ankles, and found the endzone to put the Cardinals up 28-0 with 1:33 left in the 1st quarter.
Isaiah Steele finally tallied his first completion on the next drive. He then connected with Emilio Campos up the middle as Campos would turn on the jets, blazing upfield right through the Cardinals secondary before finally being chased down at the 7-yard line; an emphatic 52-yard catch-and-run. The drive would stall, however, as the Panthers failed to convert on 4th down and ended with yet another empty possession.
On-and-off showers made the field more muddy and slippery as the game progressed; both offenses seeing their players frequently slip on hard cuts and struggle to corral the wet football. The second half would open and find the Cardinals quickly into the redzone, as Jordan Brookshire capped off the drive running it in from 8 yards out, extending the lead to 35-0.
Panthers star receiver Kalei Aukai eventually sparked his team’s otherwise high-powered offense, scoring their only touchdown of the game late in the 3rd quarter. Isaiah Steele would hit Aukai dashing across the middle as he made one man miss, broke a tackle, and then jolted in for the 21-yard score while dragging a defender in with him.
Perhaps the highlight of the night belonged to Newman’s Damian Wallace, as he would catch the bobbled snap that bounced off the quarterback, burst to the outside, and then go airbourne, hurdling right over a would-be tackler! Jaws dropped all around the stadium while the home fans rose to their feet, as Wallace pranced into the endzone for an wild 44-yard TD run. The score was 42-7 and the Cardinals never looked back.
Jordan Brookshire amassed 139 yards with his feet and 79 through the air, resulting in three touchdowns. On the other side, Isaiah Steele completed 9 of 16 passes for 120 yards and one TD pass.
Santa Rosa will finish up their regular season in a matchup with Casa Grande. With the win, Cardinal Newman sets up a highly-anticipated showdown with Rancho Cotate for the North Bay League title. Both teams will meet undefeated (6-0) in league play. Kickoff for that game is scheduled for 7:30 on October 4th at Rancho Cotate High School
Newman Rolls Through Santa Rosa In Mud Bowl
By Dale Watkins