L. Scott Bennett Photo/Gila Herald: Pima’s Austen Ashby jars the ball loose from Tombstone’s Jacob Oliver. The Roughriders swatted the Yellow Jackets 42-6 for their homecoming Friday night.
By L. Scott Bennett
PIMA – It was all Pima Friday night as the Roughriders (3-2 conference, 3-2 overall) celebrated their Homecoming at Edd Hubbard Field in Pima. The visiting Tombstone Yellow Jackets (1-4 conference, 1-4 overall) did the best they could but had no answer for Pima on either side of the ball. At the final gun many underclassmen and had seen their first-ever varsity action for the Roughriders and the retuning fans had a true homecoming treat seeing their beloved Roughriders secure a 42-6 victory.
Getting the opening kick to start the game, Pima moved right down the field and it took them less than four minutes to get their first six. At the 8:28 mark in the first quarter senior, quarterback Teddy Rector called his own number and took it in for the touchdown. While the PAT was no good, the Roughriders were on the board.
Pima found the endzone again later in the first quarter. This time, senior Alec Judd, who would be named homecoming king at halftime, got in on the scoring action. Judd took a handoff and hit paydirt to give the Roughriders a 12-0 lead.
The second quarter began with Pima driving again. Less than a minute into the second period of play, Pima found the endzone for the third time of the night when senior Wyatt Schmidt took it in for the score. Despite missing their third point after on the night, the Roughriders had an early 18–0 lead.
Pima held the Yellow Jackets once again and was quickly on the move. Calling his own number for the second time of the night, QB Rector took it in for his second score making it 24–0 Roughriders.
Tombstone then finally appeared to have something going on the offensive side of the ball. Driving at the midpoint of the second quarter, the Yellow Jackets were at midfield. Not wanting Tombstone to get back in the game, the Roughriders’ defense stepped up. Forcing a fumble, senior Josh Draper was Johnny on the spot and scooped up the loose ball and returned it 48 yards for the score. After the defensive TD, the Roughriders were up 30–0.
With the six touchdown lead, Pima head coach John Bryant decided it was time to let some underclassmen play and sent in the JV team. Despite getting their first varsity action, the Pima underclassmen continued to shut down the Yellow Jacket offense, and the Roughriders went into halftime with the 30–0 lead.
The second half was defined by the Roughriders’ defense. While the entire Pima defense stepped up, there were several noteworthy players. Perhaps most notably was when senior Damian Hoopes recorded an INT for the Pima defense. While the Yellow Jackets eventually found the endzone in the fourth quarter, the entire Roughriders’ defense played lockdown ball the entire game.
The second half continued to see many underclassmen play on the offensive side of the ball. While the scoring slowed, the future Roughriders got some great experience. Sophomore quarterback Brody Brown came in and played well along with several other young players. In another extremely exciting play, the Roughriders pulled off some razzle-dazzle. From the Yellow Jackets’ 29-yard line, Brown pitched the ball back to freshman Britt Hawkins, who then threw a strike to freshman Grant Ashby for the TD.
The Roughriders found the endzone one more time after Brown took off for 45 yards on the ground to get the ball to the Tombstone 35. On the next play, Hawkins ran it in for the score. With the touchdown, Pima closed out the scoring and the game with the 42- 6 victory.
After the game, Bryant was fired up about the big homecoming win. “I’m super happy, I think we played really well,” he said. ” We got a lot of people to play. I think everybody was really happy. I think it’s a great victory and a great homecoming . . . ”
When asked about the younger players getting to see some action, Bryant explained, “This the first time I have let the freshman play with the varsity. They got a lot of action, they scored a couple of touchdowns. I’m just super happy for everyone.”
Looking to next week, the Roughriders will host neighboring rival, Thatcher. Coach Bryant stated, “That’s a big game, big game! Were going to come out and hopefully get a victory.”
Next week, the 3–2 Thatcher Eagles, who last to Santa Cruz Valley Friday night, will head to Pima to take on the 3-2 Roughriders at Edd Hubbard field.