Raymundo Frasquillo Photo/Gila Herald: Sophomore Tommy Hille, junior Cesar Contreras (26), senior Michael McGrath (61), and sophomore Spencer Smith block as quarterback Jason McGrath rolls out to look for a receiver. The sophomore connected with senior Wesley Conyer for a third-quarter TD plus with Hille and Christopher Smith twice for three conversion passes as Duncan beat Baboquivari, 70-26.
By Raymundo Frasquillo
DUNCAN – Duncan’s football team realized its season-long goal by defeating No. 20 Sells Baboquivari (2-6 overall, minus 7.6676 rating, 1-4 South Region for No. 5 of 5) 70-26 on Packer Field on Oct. 12.
The No. 11 Wildkats (5-3, 1.5254, 4-1 region for No. 2 South) longed to return to a winning record. Since posting three straight six-win seasons, 6-3 (2011, 2012) and 6-4 (2013), Duncan had four consecutive sub-.500 seasons, 3-7 (2014), 2-5 (2015), 4-5 (2016), and 2-6 (2017), but are 37-31 during 16 (2003-18) 8-man seasons on Packer Field.
Now, the Wildkats, qualifying during 8-of-10 previous post-seasons, will try to better eight one-and-done results with a 13-man roster at No. 6 Gilbert Arete Prep (6-2, 7.5323, 3-2 for No. 3 of 6 East) on Friday, Oct. 19.
Arete Prep averaged a score of 54-42 (329-340) or a 12-point margin per game compared to the Wildkats’ 34-21 (268-166) average score or 13-point margin per game.
The Chargers had wins of 72-22 over El Capitan Eagles (Aug. 25), 80-62 over Baboquivari (Aug. 31), 58-36 over the NFL Yet Eagles (Sept. 21), 43-8 over the Ray Bearcats (Sept. 28), 83-26 over the Phoenix Day School for the Deaf Roadrunners (Oct. 5), and 42-36 over the Fort Thomas Apaches (Oct. 12). The losses were 72-15 at the Superior Panthers (Sept. 7) and 78-36 at the Winkelman Hayden Lobos (Sept. 14).
Duncan’s other four wins were 52-8 over Fredonia (Aug. 24), 57-12 over Bowie / San Simon (Aug. 31), 44-22 over Saint David (Sept. 21), and 30-16 over Elfrida Valley Union (Oct. 5). The losses were 24-0 at Ray (Aug. 17), 36-14 at Salome (Sept. 7), and 22-6 at Fort Thomas (Sept. 28).
The rest of the 1A state tourney first round has No. 9 Joseph City (5-3, 3.8069, 2-2 for No. 3 of 5 North) at No. 8 Fort Thomas (6-2, 5.4818, 4-0 for No. 1 South), No. 12 Anthem Prep (4-4, 0.4701, 3-2 for No. 3 of 6 West) at No. 5 Winkelman Hayden (5-3, 8.2021, 4-1 for No. 2 East), and No. 10 Kearny Ray (4-4, 3.5953, 2-3 for No. 4 East) at No. 7 Bagdad (6-3, 6.5945, 4-1 for No. 2 West).
Quarterfinals are Oct. 26, with the Joseph City – Fort Thomas winner versus No. 1 Williams (8-0, 19.1774, 4-0 for No. 1 North), the Anthem Prep – Hayden winner vs. No. 4 Salome (7-1, 11.7650, 5-0 for No. 1 West), the Duncan – Arete Prep winner vs. No. 3 Heber Mogollon (7-1, 12.2523, 3-1 for No. 2 North), and the Ray – Bagdad winner vs. No. 2 Superior (8-0, 15.8441, 5-0 for No. 1 East) at the higher seed. Maricopa hosts the semifinals Nov. 3 and championship Nov. 10.
Wildkats – 70, Warriors – 26
Junior Christopher Smith took senior Wesley Conyer’s second-quarter pass for an 80-yard touchdown. It broke the game’s third tie (20-20), and the Wildkats outscored the Warriors 44-6 thereafter to assure a regular season winning record.
Duncan recovered the ball on the ensuing kick, scored on junior Lucas Basteen’s 43-yard run plus Jason McGrath to Tommy Hille conversion pass (34-20), and Smith returned an interception 95 yards for another TD. The Wildkats led 40-20 before Lucas Jose ran 80 yards to narrow the deficit to two possessions (40-26) at halftime.
The Wildkats did not allow the visitors to cross the goal line in the second half, while adding three scores in the third quarter and one in the fourth quarter.
After being crowned the schools’ 2018 homecoming king at halftime, Conyer ran 18 yards for a score and McGrath connected with Smith for the conversion pass (48-26).
Basteen added a 40-yard run and McGrath the conversion run (56-26), and a McGrath to Conyer 50-yard pass play completed the scoring (70-26).
Having received the opening kick, the Wildkats punted following junior Lucas Basteen’s 35 of 39 yards gain on the initial possession of the game.
However, Baboquivari gained 29 of 70 needed yards before junior Cliff Hansen intercepted a pass and returned it 58 yards for the game’s initial score. The conversion pass attempt fell incomplete. Duncan led 6-0 with 4:37 elapsed in the South Region contest.
Starting five yards closer than before, on the 35-yard line, the Warriors reached pay dirt in three plays using 1:20, scoring on a 62-yard pass play from junior quarterback Anton Jose to sophomore Lucas Jose. The conversion run was stopped and a 6-6 tie resulted with 5:48 left in the quarter.
Duncan punted on 4th-and-7, but the Warriors fumbled, Smith recovered, and the Wildcats covered 24 yards in two plays for their second score. Lucas crossed into the end zone from 16 yards out and the conversion run was stopped. Duncan led 12-6 with 3:38 left in the quarter.
Baboquivari marched 69 yards in six plays using 1:19. Anton Jose connected with Junhama Martinez for a 41-yard score. An Earl Bautista conversion run gave the visitors a 14-12 advantage with 2:10 left in the quarter.
The Wildkats drove 53 yards in 10 plays using 3:10. Cesar Contreras knifed in on 3rd-and-goal from the three, and Conyer added the conversion run. Duncan led 20-14 with a minute elapsed in the second quarter.
Anton Jose connected with Martinez for a second score, from 53 yards out. The conversion attempt failed and the game was tied for a final time.
Duncan amassed 395 offensive yards, 227 on 38 carries plus 168 on four receptions, and 153 return yards. Additionally, the Wildkats completed 4-9 passes with no interceptions, punted five times for an average of 39.2 yards, recovered two of two fumbles, and were assessed 65 yards on seven penalties.
Individually, Basteen averaged 11.2 (10-112) yards per carry, Contreras 4.6 (5-23) yards, Conyer 4.5 (19-85) yards, Tanner Brown 2.5 (2-5) yards, McGrath 1.0 (2-2) yards.
McGrath completed 3-8 passes for 88 yards and Conyer was 1-80. Smith caught a pass for 80 yards, Conyer 1-70, Brown 1-18, and Basteen 1-0.
Defensively, the Wildkats totaled 71 tackles with Basteen getting 16 (7 solo, 9 assisted), Conyer 12 (6, 6), and Hansen 10 (2, 8). Smith and Hansen both returned interceptions for touchdowns.