Wildcats face third Cochise County opponent Friday

Raymundo Frasquillo Photo/Gila Herald: Tombstone seniors Dometrious Fenning (12) and Jeremy McCoy (30) lead the Yellow Jackets in the sportsmanship ritual following the conclusion of the game with Morenci on Oct. 8, a 58-6 region loss. Tombstone fell to Pima 45-0 in Pima on Oct. 14 while Morenci meets Benson in Benson on Oct. 15, both region pairings.

By Raymundo Frasquillo

BENSON – Morenci heads to Benson for its third encounter with a Cochise County and San Pedro Region opponent. The Joseph Garcia-coached No. 3 Wildcats (6-1 overall, 10.1276 rating, 2-0 region) face the No. 8 Bobcats (4-2, 6.5697, 1-1) Friday, Oct. 15.

The Bobcats are averaging a 32-10 (224-69) score per game or a 22-point margin. Their wins have been 41-0 over Tucson Tanque Verde (Sept. 10), 57-0 over Phoenix NFL Yet (Sept. 17), 42-7 over Phoenix Veritas Prep (Sept. 24), and 56-14 over Bisbee. The losses were 34-21 to Tucson Pusch Ridge Christian (Aug. 27) and 14-7 to Pima (Oct. 1).

Raymundo Frasquillo Photo/Gila Herald: Sophomore Tristen Sanchez (82), senior Brendon Enriquez (10), and sophomore Donovan Vozza (11) swarm to Tombstone senior running back Jeremy McCoy (30). The Yellow Jackets gained 113 first-half yards, but had minus 25 in the second half, netting 88 in 47 plays.

Morenci has a 44-11 (310-78) average score per game or 30-point margin. The wins were 45-12 over Maricopa Sequoia Pathway (Aug. 27), 55-0 over Globe (Sept. 10), 72-0 over Phoenix Madison Highland (Sept. 17), 27-7 over Saint Johns (Sept. 24), 46-7 over Bisbee (Oct. 1), and 58-6 over Tombstone (Oct. 8). The lone loss was 46-7 to Eagar Round Valley (Sept. 3).

To date, The Bobcats have a 0.2948 opponent rating while the Wildcats’ have a minus 2.4947 rating. Benson’s opponents are a combined 22-19 and Morenci’s are 23-25.

The Wildcats are at .500 (17-17) with the Bobcats, 10-12 in the region, and 7-12 in Benson since switching to the 2A Class in 1982. Benson has a 20-19 (684-655) average score per game or 1-point margin over Morenci. Additionally, the Bobcats have a current 3-game win streak on the Wildcats, 49-7 (Sept. 6, 2019) and 12-6 (Oct. 30, 2020), both in Lawson Stadium, plus a quarterfinal forfeit global health crisis related win last season.

Other San Pedro Region contests include No. 28 Tombstone (2-4, minus 7.9076, 0-2) at No. 7 Pima (4-2, 7.4692, 1-0) Oct. 14, and No. 5 Willcox (6-0, 8.3049, 1-0) at No. 21 Bisbee (3-4, minus 4.6860, 0-2) Oct. 15.

Pima has a 30-10 (181-58) average score per game or 20-point margin, Tombstone a 19-33 (115-205) score per game or a 14-point deficit, Willcox a 46-6 (274-34) average score per game or 40-point margin, and Bisbee a 29-28 (204-194) score per game or 1-point margin.

The final score of the Tombstone at Pima contest was 45-0 favoring the Roughriders.

Last week in San Pedro Region pairings, the Oct. 7 Willcox at Pima contest was canceled due to ongoing global health crisis issues, Morenci defeated Tombstone 58-6 in Tombstone, and Benson defeated Bisbee 56-14 in Warren Ball Park on Oct. 8.

Raymundo Frasquillo Photo/Gila Herald: Derek Saenz upends Tombstone freshman receiver, Brendyn Downing, causing an incomplete pass. The Morenci junior notched four solo tackles.

Through seven weeks of the regular season, Morenci’s 2021 opponents are a combined 36-29 overall. Maricopa Sequoia Pathway is 5-2, Eagar Round Valley 7-0, Globe 0-6, Phoenix Madison Highland 1-6, Saint Johns 4-3, Bisbee 3-4, Tombstone 2-4, Benson (Oct. 15) 4-2, Willcox (Oct. 22) 6-0, and Pima (Oct. 29) 4-2.

The six San Pedro Region members are a combined 25-13 (.658) overall. The other 38 teams, the four in the Little Colorado Region have a combined overall record of 15-10 (.600), the five in the Gila Region 19-16 (.543), the five in the Agua Fria Region 16-17 (.485), the five in the Verde Region 13-18 (.419), the six in the Salt Region 15-22 (.405), the five in the Hassayampa Region 12-19 (.387), the five in the Rillito Region 12-20 (.375), and the 3-team San Juan Region 3-10 (.230).

Week eight of the regular season has Saint Johns at Pinon Oct. 14, plus Sequoia Pathway at Eloy Santa Cruz in Rillito Region play, Round Valley at Lakeside Blue Ridge in 3A East Region play, Globe hosts Gilbert Arete Prep in Salt Region play, and Madison Highland at Wellton Antelope in Verde Region play on Oct. 15.

The final score for the Saint Johns at Pinon game was 61-0 favoring the Redskins.

Last week, Morenci’s non-region opponents went 3-2. Sequoia Pathway defeated Tanque Verde 34-7 in region play, Round Valley defeated Show Low 36-32 in region play, Gilbert San Tan Charter defeated Globe 57-0 in region play, Valley Lutheran defeated Madison Highland 42-34 in region play, and Saint Johns defeated Sanders Valley 65-0 in region play.

Week three of 2A statewide rankings for 44 teams on Oct. 12 has five remaining the same, six moving up, four dropping down, one dropping out, and one replacing the dropout in the Top 16.

The four San Pedro Region members, Morenci moved up from No. 4 to No. 3, Pima dropped down from No. 5 to No. 7, Willcox moved up from No. 7 to No. 5, and Benson moved up from No. 9 to No. 8. The other two members both dropped down, Bisbee from No. 19 to No. 21 and Tombstone No. 25 to No. 28.

Five of the other eight regions, the Agua Fria Region, the Gila Region, the Little Colorado Region, the Rillito Region, and the Verde Region each have two teams in the Top 16. The Salt Region and the Hassayampa Region both have one team in there.

Parker (6-0 overall, 19.0825 rating, 1-0 Agua Fria Region) stayed at No. 1, Arizona Lutheran (6-1, 12.1714, 0-1 Gila Region) stayed at No. 2, Morenci moved up from No. 4 to No. 3, Gilbert Christian (5-2, 8.7568, 1-0 Salt Region) moved up from No. 6 to No. 4, Holbrook (5-1, 11.0102, 1-0 Little Colorado Region) dropped down from No. 3 to No. 6, Pima moved down from No. 5 to No. 7, Benson moved up from No. 9 to No. 8, Scottsdale Prep (5-0, 6.8474, 1-0 Verde Region) moved down from No. 8 to No. 9, Camp Verde (5-1, 5.7916, 1-0 Agua Fria Region) stayed at No. 10, Chandler Prep (4-2, 4.5425, 1-0 Gila Region), stayed at No. 11, Saint Johns (3-3, 2.8466, 0-0 Little Colorado Region) stayed at No. 12, Sequoia Pathway (4-2, 1.2414, 1-0 Rillito Region) moved up from No. 17 to No. 13, Tanque Verde (4-2, 1.7908, 0-0 Rillito Region up) moved up from No. 15 to No. 14, Antelope (4-2, 1.6405, 1-0) moved up from No. 16 to No. 15, and Scottsdale Christian (3-2, 2.2902, 0-0 Verde Region) dropped down from No. 13 to No. 16.

The team dropping out was Miami (3-3, minus 0.1756, 1-0 Salt Region up) from No. 14 to No. 17.

Raymundo Frasquillo Photo/Gila Herald: Rick Funari brings down Tombstone senior running back Jeremy McCoy after a short gain. The Morenci junior totaled six tackles, three solo, and three assisted.

Wildcats – 58, Yellow Jackets – 6

The Wildcats did exactly as third-year head coach Joseph Garcia told them to do. They took advantage of the opportunity presented to them during 11 possessions to defeat Tombstone last Friday. Touchdowns scored numbered seven rushing and one aerial with a lone conversion failure. As a result, the entire 30-member squad received playing time and they left “the town too tough to die” with game experience plus a region win.

Morenci scored on three consecutive first-quarter possessions, covering 39 yards in five plays, 65 yards in three plays, and 25 yards in two plays; on one of two second-quarter possessions, covering 99 yards in five plays; and on four of five second-half possessions, covering 65 yards in four plays, 58 yards in six plays, 52 yards in four plays, and 40 yards in five plays.

Sophomore Michael Casillas crossed the goal line from a yard out. Junior Derek Saenz connected with sophomore Joseph Seballos for the conversion pass. Morenci led 8-0 with 4:16 elapsed.

Casillas scrambled 55 yards to pay dirt on the third play. Senior Tony Roybal added the conversion run. Morenci led 16-6 midway through the opening quarter.

Roybal turned junior Daylen Johnson’s second play pass into a 24-yard TD. Sophomore Austyn Nelson kicked the extra point. Morenci led 23-6 with 2:07 remaining in the first quarter

Raymundo Frasquillo Photo/Gila Herald: Morenci junior Joseph Seballos prevents quarterback Aliaz Dyson from a long third-quarter run. The Tombstone freshman had minus 15 second-half rushing yards and five incomplete passes.

Casillas added the second quarter 17-yard TD run. Roybal added a conversion run. The Wildcats led 31-6 at halftime.

A second 1-yard run went for a TD by Casillas following the initial possession of the second half. The conversion run was stopped. Morenci led 37-6 with 1:44 elapsed in the final 24 minutes.

Johnson ran in from 10 yards out and Nelson added the first of three consecutive conversion kicks. Morenci led 44-6 with 2:31 left in the third quarter.

Fourth-quarter scoring was on runs by senior Kaden Summer and sophomore John Provencio, along with a pair of Nelson kicks. Summer rushed the exact number on his jersey, 18 yards, for a TD. Morenci led 51-6 as a running clock was started with 9:43 left. Provencio ran five yards for the final TD.

The Wildcats fumbled on the second play of their fourth possession after gaining 21 yards, ran out of time on their sixth possession after gaining 20 yards in two plays, and turned the ball over on downs during their eighth possession after gaining seven yards in four plays.

Raymundo Frasquillo Photo/Gila Herald: Junior quarterback Daylen Johnson drops back to look for a receiver as the Morenci line provides protection.

Host Tombstone received the opening kick, gained nine yards in three plays, and punted on 4th-and-1. The Yellow Jackets managed to score on their next possession, 75 yards in three plays, but it was the only time during the entire evening with 11 possessions.

Freshman quarterback Aliaz Dyson connected with senior Jeremy McCoy for a 73-yard touchdown. The conversion kick failed. The hosts trailed 8-6 with 5:55 left in the first quarter.

Tombstone punted twice after three plays, on 4th-and-22, and on 4th-and-17; and turned the ball over on downs twice, after gaining 48 yards in 13 plays and after no gain in eight plays during the first half.

In the second half, the possessions resulted in punts after three plays thrice, on 4th-and-7 after gaining three yards, on 4th-and-25 after losing 15 yards, and on 4th-and-12 after losing two yards; turning the ball over on downs after four playing losing 11 yards, and on running out of time after an incomplete pass.

For the game, the Wildcats netted 479 offensive yards, 318 on 33 carries, and 161 on 5-8 passes. Morenci’s defense limited the Yellow Jackets to 88 yards in 47 plays.

Raymundo Frasquillo Photo/Gila Herald: Kade Summer cuts up the field to score a season and career first touchdown. The initial fourth-quarter score and sixth rushing TD for the visitors prompted a running clock. The Morenci senior averaged 10.2 (5-55) yards per carry.

Casillas averaged 12.6 (13-164) yards per carry, Summer 10.2 (5-51) yards, Johnson 8.2 (5-41) yards, Saenz 8.0 (1-8) yards, Patrick Chavez 7.0 (7-49) yards, and sophomore John Provencio 2.5 (2-5) yards. Saenz averaged 50.1 (2-102) yards per catch, Sanchez 35.0 (1-35) yards, Roybal 24.0 (1-24), and junior Gavin Baca 1.0 (1-1) yard. Johnson completed 5-8 passes for 161 yards with no interceptions.

Defensively, 17 different Wildcats tallied at least one tackle. Sophomore Andrew Chavez totaled 13 tackles (6 solo, 7 assisted), sophomore Donovan Vozza 12 (7 solo, 5 assisted), Tristen Sanchez (7 solo, 3 assisted) and Casillas (5 solo, 5 assisted) both 10, senior Brendon Enriquez nine (2 solo, 7 assisted), Summer and Baca both seven (4 solo, 3 assisted), juniors Dillen Aker and Rick Funari both six (3 solo, 3 assisted), and Saenz (4 solo), Patrick Chavez (2 solo, 2 assisted) senior Jericho Sanchez (1 solo, 3 assisted) four apiece.

Vozza sacked the quarterback twice and both Patrick Chavez and Tristen Sanchez once each; and Roybal and Saenz each deflected two passes while Enriquez and Summer defected one apiece.

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