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August 30, 2014

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Hodge keeps Panthers perfect over Legacy

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Palo Verde senior Sidney Hodge used Friday night’s matchup with Legacy as an opportunity to show his many talents.

Hodge scored three touchdowns — one rushing, one receiving and another from a fumble recovery — to help the Panthers to a 35-7 victory and a 10-0 regular season record.

The highlight of the night came when Hodge snagged a one-handed 21-yard touchdown reception from quarterback Kelly Zurowski to give Palo Verde a comfortable 21-0 lead in the third quarter.

“Kelly made a nice throw on the ball and I just had to go up and get it,” Hodge said. “That brought up all our momentum. From there we were able to take them down.”

Friday night’s matchup between Palo Verde (10-0, 7-0) and Legacy (7-3, 4-3) may have been a formality ­— both teams had playoff spots locked — but the game had the feeling of an intense division rivalry.

Legacy’s defense was able to keep Palo Verde’s rushing attack quiet in the first half, however, its offense failed to capitalize.

Palo Verde took a 7-0 lead after Tyrone Blake caught an 11-yard touchdown reception from Torin Harris in the second quarter.

Legacy was on the verge of tying the game when it drove the ball deep into Palo Verde territory just before halftime.

However, a fumble thwarted Legacy’s chances to go into the second half with momentum.

“It was a huge stop,” Palo Verde coach Darwin Rost said. “Our defense won this game for us today.”

Hodge contributed on defense when he returned a fumble 43 yards to make it 14-0 about three minutes into the half.

His reception on the next possession was set up after Legacy fumbled a punt snap on its own 41 yard line

Legacy finally countered with 39 seconds remaining in the third quarter when Prince Oroke ran for a 13-yard touchdown.

For Legacy coach David Snyder, who is leading his team into Bishop Gorman (10-1, 7-0) on Nov. 7 for its first playoff game, Friday’s matchup showed the team has plenty to work on.

“I don’t think our kids have learned to prepare themselves going into a big game,” he said.

Palo Verde fullback Grant Bernhardy made it 28-7 with a 24-yard reception from Zurowski two minutes into the fourth quarter.

Hodge ran in the final touchdown from the 20 yard line with six minutes remaining.

With a commanding win and undefeated record going into the playoffs, Rost had little to complain about after the game.

“We want to make sure we’re clicking on all cylinders before we go into the playoffs,” he said. “There’s a reason why Legacy came in here with only two losses. They have a great running game but I think our defense did a good job stopping them.”

Palo Verde hosts Sierra Vista (5-5, 4-3) in the Sunset Region quarterfinals Nov. 7.

Sean Ammerman can be reached at 990-2661 or [email protected].

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