The 21st-ranked Lee Williams Volunteers outlasted the No. 28 Coconino Panthers, 14-7, to spoil Homecoming night on Friday at Cromer Stadium in a 4A Conference, Grand Canyon Region game.

After going scoreless in the opening half with Bryce Wright, Coconino switched quarterbacks, placing Ty Furr back under center after missing two weeks with an injury, and the Panthers took a 7-6 lead when the signal caller ran for a four-yard touchdown with 3:56 left to play in the third quarter.

But the Panthers, who have now lost five straight games and have a 1-5 record to go with a 0-2 region mark, continued to act as their own enemy, allowing Lee Williams to take the advantage right back and not let go.

Lee Williams, which broke a two-game skid to improve to 4-2 overall and 1-2 in the region standings, took advantage of Coconino muffing a kickoff. The Panthers' mistake placed the Volunteers at Coconino's 34 to start the drive, and Lee Williams' quarterback eventually took a keeper from inches out to help his team take back the lead after a successful two-point conversion.

"I felt like coming into it, they were prepared for it. I thought there were some things that happened out there that we weren't prepared for, but I thought we were pretty well ready to go," said Panthers head coach Jeremiah Smith.

It was a night of a plethora of penalties, several injuries and multiple mistakes, coming on both sides of the ball from both teams. With 9:29 left to play, Lee Williams started its fifth possession of the second half only to appear to go three-and-out. After false starts put them deep in their own territory and after four punts, the Vols got the ball back courtesy of a roughing-the-kicker call on Coconino.

It was that kind of night, as the Panthers would do one thing right only to do four things wrong.

"Defense continues to play well; we just have to build on those positives and go from there," Smith said.

Coconino's defense kept Lee Williams from scoring on its opening drive, getting a stop with the Volunteers, who elected to run pitch plays instead of push the ball in, at fourth and inches.

The Vols took the lead early in the game when they blocked a punt and ran it into the end zone, but had their share of ugly moments. Toward the end of the first half, bunched up near their own goal line, the Volunteers fumbled the ball when their running back ran into his own lineman, avoiding the open hole and deciding to juke instead only to turn over the ball.

Coconino recovered the fumble, but after a sack, a near pick and an incomplete pass, Wright threw an interception on fourth down.

The Panthers, who have not scored more than 20 points since the season opening win over Page, ended their two-game homestand.

"We got to work on less penalties, not turning the ball over and execution," Smith said. "We have to execute offensively."

Coconino heads to Prescott Valley next week to take on the Bradshaw Mountain Bears.

Mike Hartman can be reached at 556-2255 or at


Load comments