Alexander Howe rushes for 320 yards in Sahuaro’s win over Rinconby Andy Morales on Oct. 13, 2012, under Sports
Alexander Howe had a team-leading 697 yards rushing on 86 carries coming into Sahuaro’s game at Rincon/UHS Friday night. The senior’s 8.11 yards per carry was earned in the trenches without much flash.
Save a 208 yard performance against Cienega in late September, Howe was a working man’s leader who just got the job done. Then came Rincon.
Howe averaged only 12 carries a game before Friday but he almost tripled that number as he was given 32 chances to see what he could do and he came through with an unofficial 320 yards and two touchdowns.
He was gaining yardage in chunks and he was almost unstoppable. The only person who could stop him was himself. Rincon took the opening kick but was forced to punt and Sahuaro took over at their own 41 yard line.
Howe took the ball three times and gained 22 yards before he fumbled it away on his fourth carry while running untouched in his back field, apparently while trying to shift the ball to his other hand.
Kevionte Alexander recovered the fumble at the 44 yard line and Rincon was in business again. Unlike Howe, Alexander had already made himself known as one of the top rushers in the state.
The senior had already gained 1,286 yards and had scored 20 touchdowns in the process. He showed some of his game-breaking skills on a broken play that resulted in a 43-yard dash that set Rincon up on a first-and-goal at the 9 yard line.
A penalty helped stall the drive and Rincon was forced to kick a field goal and Blair Keyes put Rincon on top 3-0 after he nailed a 32-yarder.
Sahuaro went right back to Howe and he gained over 60 yards on the next drive but another fumble at the goal line was recovered by Rincon lineman Brandon Dancer in the end zone to end another Sahuaro drive.
Rincon punted the ball back 40 seconds later after a couple of incompletions. Sahuaro went right back to what was working and Howe gained 34 yards on the drive before Laramie Brown hit Cole Sterns on 25-yard touchdown pass to put Sahuaro up 7-3 with 6:44 left in the first half.
Rincon punted again and Brown hit Joseph Grono on a 20-yard pass play to cap an 85-yard drive to put Sahuaro up 14-3 with 23 seconds left. The ball went through Kayliyn Taylor’s hands on the play and fell into Grono’s grasp as he was falling to the ground.
Taylor had an open field ahead of him but it was the last time Sahuaro would give Rincon an opportunity. Instead of being up by a couple of scores, Rincon found itself trying to catch up in the second half.
Sahuaro, on the other hand, and made it a point not to repeat the same mistakes in the second half. “I give all credit to our defensive staff and to our defense,” said Sahuaro coach Scott McKee.
“We gave the ball away but we stopped them from taking advantage. Rincon is a good ball club but we began to execute in the second half. We wanted to be in the game and not self destruct,” he added.
Howe had no idea he was closing on the 300-yard mark and neither did McKee. They just stuck with what was working and it paid off in the second half.
“I came out and competed hard,” said Howe. “Coach told us to limit our mistakes and I was just following my blocks.”
McKee called it one of the best performances he had seen from one of his players and by his offensive line and Howe did not disappoint in the second half.
Alexander had 83 yards rushing in the first half and Howe had 136 but Howe made sure there was more space between the two after he took the second hand off of the third quarter the distance and scored on an 81-yard scamper to put Sahuaro up 21-3.
Rincon marched right back and Andrew Cable hit Chris Schicker on a 17-yard pass to cut the lead back down to 21-10 but Brown found Sterns in the end zone on the next drive to put Sahuaro back up 28-10.
Rincon was not done and Cable hit Alexander on a 45-yard pass as time expired in the third quarter to close the gap again, 28-17 Sahuaro.
Sahuaro went on an 8 minute drive that resulted in a 12-yard touchdown run by Howe to put the game out of reach 35-17.
Rincon was forced to punt and Sahuaro scored again on a 4-yard run by Jose Ruiz to provide the final 42-17 margin.
Alexander finished the game with 143 yards rushing and 45 yards receiving to maintain his status as one of the biggest threats in Southern Arizona but Rincon showed very little offense across the board to keep up with Sahuaro.
Besides Howe’s 320 yards rushing, Ruiz rushed for 54 yards and Brown threw for 147 yards. Sterns had 77 yards receiving with two touchdowns and Grono finished with 70 yards and one touchdown.
Sahuaro (6-2) travels to Catalina (4-4) next week and Rincon (5-3) hosts Salpointe (8-1).