Wildkats dispatch Blue Devils, host Warriors for homecoming Friday

Raymundo Frasquillo Photo/Gila Herald: Lucas Basteen (25) pulls away from the grasp of Daniel Reyes (40) during Duncan’s 30-16 victory over Valley Union on Friday night. 

By Raymundo Frasquillo

DUNCAN – The Eric Bejarano-coached Duncan football team is on the verge of realizing a season-long goal, a winning record. The Wildkats have posted four consecutive sub-.500 seasons, 2-6 (2017), 4-5 (2016), 2-5 (2015), and 3-7 (2014), following three straight 6-win seasons, 6-3 (2011, 2012) and 6-4 (2013).

Packer Field-held games have resulted in the Wildkats being 34-31 during the 15 previous seasons (2003-17) plus 2-0 this season.

Duncan welcomes the 2-5 Sells Baboquivari Warriors for homecoming Friday, Oct. 12. The Wildkats bested the Warriors 44-0 in Sells during the 2017 pairing and are 11-4 for homecoming in the 8-man era, winning the last three in a row, 36-8 over Anthem Prep (2015), 56-48 over Fort Thomas (2016), and 66-20 over Saint David (2017).

Raymundo Frasquillo Photo/Gila Herald: Erubiel Sierras (42) converts a 2-point conversion as he just gets past Duncan’s Michael McGrath (61).

Baboquivari’s offense has averaged 27 (181) points while its defense has yielded 48 (335) through seven games with opponents posting combined overall records of 21-27, 0-13 in two wins and 21-14 in five losses.

Meanwhile, the Scarlet and Gray has averaged a score of 28-20 (198-140) through seven games against opponents with combined overall records of 21-24, 6-18 in the four wins and 15-6 in the three losses.

Baboquivari comes to Duncan with wins of 50-0 over No. 23 California Winterhaven San Pasqual (0-5, 0-3 West Region) Aug. 24 and a 1-0 forfeit from Bowie / San Simon (0-8, 0-5 South Region) Sept. 21.

The Warriors’ losses were 64-18 to No. 4 Fort Thomas (6-1, 4-0 South Region) Aug. 17, 80-62 at No. 8 Gilbert Arete Prep (5-2, 3-2 East Region) Aug. 31, 61-0 at No. 6 Winkelman Hayden (5-2, 4-1 East Region) Sept. 7, 74-20 at No. 14 Elfrida Valley Union (1-6, 1-2 South Region) Sept. 14, and 56-30 to No. 13 Saint David (4-3, 2-2 South Region) Sept. 21.

Duncan’s wins were 52-8 over No. 17 Fredonia (1-4, 0-3 North Region) at N.A.U. Aug. 24, 57-12 over Bowie / San Simon in Duncan Aug. 31, 44-22 at No. 13 Saint David Sept. 21, and 30-16 over No. 14 Elfrida Valley Union in Duncan on Oct. 5.

The Wildkats’ losses were 24-0 at No. 10 Kearny Ray (4-4, 2-3 East Region) on Aug. 17, 36-14 at No. 5 Salome (5-1, 3-0 West Region) on Sept. 7, and 22-6 at No. 4 Fort Thomas on Sept. 28.

Wildkats – 30, Blue Devils – 16

Trailing 16-8 at halftime, the Wildkats returned to score 22 answered points during seven possessions, en route to its fourth overall win and third in the region.

Valley Union lit up its side of the scoreboard first. An Ezekiel to Noah Spence pass went for 30 yards to cap a 40-yard drive in four plays. A Larry Stewart conversion run gave the Blue Devils an 8-0 advantage with 4:18 elapsed in the game.

Raymundo Frasquillo Photo/Gila Herald: Wesley Conyer (33) holds onto the tackle of quarterback Billy Vansickle.

Duncan yielded the ball on downs during its initial two possessions, gaining seven and 36 yards, before a 36-yard Conyer run plus Jason McGrath to Tommy Hille conversion pass knotted the score at 8-8 with 1:15 elapsed in the second quarter.

Valley Union drove 70 yards in 12 plays to retake the lead with 5:03 left in the half. A Larry Stewart 7-yard run plus Erubiel Sierras conversion run favored the Blue Devils 16-8.

Duncan marched 47 of 50 yards in 13 plays before being intercepted in the end zone with five seconds left in the first half. The Blue devils took a knee to run down the clock.

Valley Union received the kick, was intercepted on 4th-and-6 by Cesar Contreras, Duncan fumbled on first down, and Valley Union yielded the ball on downs.

Raymundo Frasquillo Photo/Gila Herald: Cheerleaders bring the school spirit.

Duncan tied the score at 16-16 on the ensuing possession. A Wesley Conyer 25-yard first down run plus McGrath conversion run were recorded with 4:25 elapsed in the third quarter. It was Conyer’s second of three TD runs.

In its next five possessions, Valley Union gained a yard in four plays, 38 on four plays, lost 16 on four plays, gained 25 on 10 plays, and did not gain any on four plays.

Conyer added his third TD, capping a 27-yard drive on a 12-yard 1st-and-11 run with 3:25 left in the third quarter. The conversion attempt failed. Duncan’s next possession lost four yards in four plays before the final score was recorded.

A McGrath 2-yard run on 1st-and-goal plus Contreras’ conversion run completed the scoring with 9:33 left to play.

The Wildkats gained seven yards in four plays and took a knee on their final possession.

Unofficially, the Wildkats outgained the Blue Devils by 59 yards (208-149) using nine fewer snaps (49-58). Duncan earned 10 first downs to seven for Valley Union as both teams totaled 11 possessions.

Defensively, Conyer (4 minus 29), Cliff Hansen (2 minus 17), Christopher Smith (1 minus 10), and Spencer Smith (1 minus 8) combined for eight quarterback sacks that pushed the Blue Devils back 64 yards.