The No. 19 Mingus Union Marauders had no problem keeping its top spot in the Grand Canyon Region locked for another week, beating the No. 36 Coconino Panthers at Cromer Stadium on Friday, 56-0.
Setting a new season high for rushing touchdowns scored in a game, the Marauders got into the end zone seven times via the ground game on the way to improving to 5-1 in the region standings and 5-4 overall.
Martin Soria had two touchdowns having entered the game with just two total under his belt, Tyler Kelly put up 18 points with two rushing touchdowns to go with one in the air and the Marauders handed the Panthers their second shutout loss of the season.
Heading into the season finale against crosstown rival Flagstaff High next week in the Walkup Skydome at Northern Arizona, Coconino, which played its last home game of the year, now finds itself in danger of finishing the season at 1-9 for the first time in head coach Jeremiah Smith's tenure.
The loss moved Coconino to 0-5 in the region.
Soria had the first two touchdowns for the Marauders, who took a 36-0 lead into the locker room at halftime despite being held to just eight in the opening quarter. The defense of the Panthers started out well, getting to Mingus' quarterback a few times to collect some sacks, but struggled to stay on their feet courtesy of the sputtering Coconino offense.
"Three-and-outs, it doesn't help when the defense spends the mass majority of the first 24 minutes on the field, it's hard for them," Smith said. "They have that bend-don't-break mentality, but when you are on that long, something positive is going to happen on the other side of the ball and we have to maintain an offense."
The Panthers went three-and-out three times on six first-half possessions, as the Marauders crossed the goal line on four consecutive drives to take a commanding lead into the break. Kelly even took a long touchdown pass into the end zone as the first half's clock expired.
Coconino quarterback Ty Furr got no help from his receivers or run game throughout the night, and the Mingus secondary gave fits to attempts down field all night.
Brandon Conde had a big tackle for Coconino at the end of the game to keep Mingus off the board in the final stanza, stopping the Marauders runner just outside the goal on a fourth-down attempt.
"They are firing on all cylinders right now, they are a tough team," Smith said of Mingus.
The rivalry game between the Eagles and Panthers is set for a 7:30 p.m. kickoff next week.