Wildcats host Roughriders regular-season finale Friday

Raymundo Frasquillo Photo/Gila Herald: Second-year Morenci Head Coach Joseph Garcia rides a blocking sled as the Wildcats use it during Monday practice sessions. Morenci hosts Pima for a region contest and regular-season finale Friday, Nov. 13.

By Raymundo Frasquillo

MORENCI – The No. 6 Morenci Wildcats host the No. 16 Pima Roughriders for a region game Friday, Nov. 13. The teams have met 22 times since the Wildcats switched to the 2A Class in 1982. Morenci has a 16-6 overall advantage and is 10-2 versus the Roughriders in Lawson Stadium. The Wildcats have averaged a 26-12 (568-265) score per game or a 14-point margin in the same span.

During the most recent five pairings (2010-2019), Morenci is 3-2 overall, 2-1 at home, and averaged a 25-20 (123-98) score per game or a 5-point margin. The previous two contests in Morenci ended favoring the Wildcats 44-16 in 2019 and 14-0 in 2017.

Thus far, Morenci (5-1 overall, 7.7530 rating) has averaged a score of 38-11 (227-68) per game or a 27-point margin. The Wildcats have wins of 76-0 over Verde Region Phoenix North Pointe Prep (Oct. 2), 21-14 over Salt Region Gilbert San Tan Charter (Oct. 9), 39-14 over East Region Bisbee (Oct. 16), 58-7 over East Region Tombstone (Oct. 23), and 27-21 over East Region Willcox (Nov. 6). The loss was 6-12 to East Region Benson (Oct. 30).

Pima (2-2, minus 3.2044) has averaged a score of 26-12 (105-46) per game or a 14-point margin. The Roughriders downed Tombstone 52-7 (Oct. 30) and Bisbee 41-0 (Nov. 6). The losses were 0-26 to 3A Thatcher (Oct. 2) and 12-13 to Willcox (Oct. 23). The scheduled pairings with Saint Johns (Oct. 9) and Benson (Oct. 16) fell victim to the global health crisis.

The other East Region pairings are No. 10 Willcox (3-1, 3.1975) at No. 1 Benson (5-0, 13.8022) and No. 26 Tombstone (0-6, minus 12.2764) at No. 28 Bisbee (0-6, minus 14.5297).

Through five weeks of region pairings, East Region standings are Benson (3-0) first, Morenci (3-1) second, Willcox (3-1) third, Pima (2-1) fourth, Tombstone (0-4) fifth, and Bisbee (0-4) sixth.

Morenci’s other two opponents; Phoenix North Point Prep (0-4, minus 9.4248) and San Tan Charter (3-3, minus 1.4643) are No. 23 and No. 15, respectively, following initial rankings Nov. 10.

Wildcats – 27, Cowboys – 21

Raymundo Frasquillo Photo/Gila Herald: Sophomore Patrick Chavez Jr. runs interference for teammate Lance “LT” Morey during a drill. Chavez averaged 7.7 yards per carry and Morey 4.8 yards against Willcox on Nov. 6.

Facing its second unbeaten opponent in as many weeks, but this one on the road, Morenci turned the ball over during its initial possession. However, scores resulted on its next three consecutive possessions.

The Wildcats gained 21 yards on five plays plus two penalties but lost the ball on a fumbled snap, and covered 75 yards in six plays, 20 yards in four plays, and 90 yards in three plays to take a 20-0 advantage with 6:25 left in the first half.

Sophomore Daylen Johnson connected with senior Maddux Martinez for a 48-yard pass and senior Brenden Enriquez added his first of three conversion kicks with 3:12 left in the first quarter, senior Lance “LT” Morey darted 11 yards and Enriquez added the conversion kick with 10 seconds left in the first quarter, and freshman Michael Casillas bolted 73 yards untouched. The conversion run was unsuccessful.

Willcox did the opposite, turning the ball over on its initial three possessions and scoring on its fourth. The Cowboys turned the ball over on downs after gaining 35 yards in six plays, fumbled on the second play after getting five yards, and turned the ball over on downs after netting 44 yards in 19 plays. Their next possession covered 61 yards in 13 plays. Senior Ote Allsup went three yards to pay dirt and freshman Warren Anthony added the first of three conversion kicks, with 31 seconds left in the half.

Raymundo Frasquillo Photo/Gila Herald: Sophomore Derek Saenz goes up to make a reception during a recent practice session. The Wildcats continue to run drills designed for individual and team improvement.

Morenci was intercepted on its third play after gaining 14 yards and Willcox ran out of time. The Wildcats led 20-7 at halftime.

Willcox received the second half kick but turned the ball over on downs and punted before scoring twice. The Cowboys gained 25 yards in eight plays, lost 14 yards before punting on 4th-and-24, and covered 75 yards in nine plays and 73 yards in plays plus two penalties. Sophomore Christian Pando went six yards and Anthony added the conversion kick to trail 27-14 with 9:28 left in the fourth quarter. Sophomore Ayden Fuentes connected with Pando for a 16-yard touchdown and Anthony added the conversion kick to trail 27-21 with 54 seconds remaining.

Morenci scored once in four second-half possessions. The Wildcats lost four yards and punted on 4th-and-14, covered 33 yards in seven plays, turned the ball over on downs after gaining 67 yards in 11 plays, and took a knee on the third play after getting 14 yards. Johnson connected with Martinez for a 22-yards TD on 4th-and-15 and Enriquez added the conversion kick. The Wildcats led 27-7 with 1:27 left in the third quarter.

The Wildcats totaled 364 offensive yards, 259 on 33 carries, and 105 on five receptions compared to 405 yards, 282 on 37 carries, and 123 on 11 receptions by the Cowboys.

Casillas averaged 20.9 (5-102) yards per carry, sophomore Patrick Chavez 7.7 (9-69) yards, Johnson 5.0 (1-5), Morey 4.8 (17-82) yards, and senior PaulDaniel Moreno 1.0 (1-1) yards.

Johnson completed 6-8 passes for 105 yards with one interception. Martinez averaged 26.0 (3-78) yards, junior Gavin Baca 18.0 (1-18) yards, and sophomore Derek Saenz 12.0 (1-12) yards.

Defensively, eight Wildcats recorded five or more tackles. Moreno totaled 13 tackles (5 solo, 8 assisted); Enriquez 12 (5 solo, 7 assisted); Baca (5 solo, 4 assisted) and Martinez (7 solo, 2 assisted) nine apiece; junior Shawn Hudman (4 solo, 4 assisted) and Tristan Sanchez (5 solo, 3 assisted) four each; and senior Adam Chacon six (3solo, 3 assisted). Baca recorded a quarterback sack, Chavez recovered a fumble, and Moreno blocked a punt.

Raymundo Frasquillo Photo/Gila Herald: Conditioning drills remain part of Morenci’s weekly practice sessions. The sprints are usually done toward the end of the session.

For the Cowboys, Pando averaged 6.6 (11-73) yards per carry, Fuentes 6.1 (15-91) yards, freshman Oren Allsup 6.0 (1-6) yards, and Ote Allsup 5.6 (20-112) yards.

Fuentes completed 11-14 passes for 123 yards with no interceptions. Pando averaged 14.8 (6-89) yards per catch, Ote Allsup 9.0 (2-18) yards, and freshman Kosh Macumber 5.3 (3-16) yards.

Defensively, five Cowboys totaled five or more tackles. Ote Allsup had 10 tackles (5 solo, 5 assisted), Pando nine (3 solo, 6 assisted), and senior Isaac Felix (1 solo, 4 assisted), Fuentes (4 solo, 1 assisted), and senior Bridger Sanborn (3 solo, 2 assisted) five apiece. Macumber intercepted a pass and Oren Allsup recovered a fumble.

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