Flagstaff had what seemed to be a Grand Canyon Region-opening win in its hands, but the Prescott Badgers came storming back late to win 27-24 in an overtime thriller Friday night in the Walkup Skydome.
Once again, key miscues in the fourth quarter hurt the 4A Conference Eagles' chances even though they led for a majority of the game.
“If we can play with those guys, we can play with anybody in the state,” Eagles co-head coach Paul Wolf said. “That’s a hell of team right there and I have them as one of the best in the conference.”
“We’re learning, still making dumb mistakes, but we will get better,” added Wolf, whose team now sits at 1-3 overall with its three losses coming by 15 combined points.
About five minutes into the fourth quarter, with the Eagles leading 21-13 and looking to extend the advantage, Prescott blocked a Flagstaff field goal attempt and the ball was picked up by Hunter Kronberg, who returned it from the Flagstaff 35-yard line for a score. After the ensuing two-point conversion, Prescott tied the game at 21.
A few drives later, Flagstaff quickly retook the lead by capitalizing on Prescott’s third fumble of the game, but had to settle for a 37-yard field goal by Oscar Castruita after a pass interference call pushed it back on third down, which the Eagles couldn’t convert on.
On the next drive, with the score at 24-21 in favor of Flagstaff, Prescott marched down the field and into Eagles territory off multiple long runs by quarterback Austin Clark, who finished with 182 yards rushing and one touchdown through the air.
With just 59 seconds left in regulation, the Eagles defense held after an unsportsmanlike penalty put the Badgers even deeper in the red zone.
Defensive back Michael Becenti broke up what would have been the game-winning pass, forcing Prescott to settle for a field goal to make the game go into overtime.
The Eagles were only able to run one offensive play in overtime.
Starting from the 25-yard line, Eagles quarterback Henry Tagle, who had been a solid 8-for-13 passing, threw an interception in the end zone to Prescott defensive back Rhett Pearce. Both of Tagle’s interceptions this year have come from inside the red zone.
Prescott then ran three plays for just a few yards and Clay Gross knocked in a short kick to give the Badgers the come-from-behind road win.
The game had plenty of positives for the Eagles, such as the night running back Luis Jaramillo had.
Jaramillo continued his hot scoring start to the year, going for about 116 rushing yards with a 45-yard touchdown and his one catch of the day was a 40-yard screen pass that was also for a TD. He added a 37-yard rush, breaking multiple tackles on his way to set the Eagles up in the red zone.
Jaramillo now has eight of Flagstaff’s 12 touchdowns this season after his two-touchdown performance Friday night.
Josh Morrow added 65 rushing yards and caught four passes for about 51 yards, including a 3-yard touchdown reception.
“I’m proud of these guys,” Wolf said. “They played so hard and Mohave is going to take it on the chin next week.”
Prescott improved to 3-1 overall.
Friday's loss is the Eagles' third loss that has come down to just single-digit scoring.
The Eagles will travel to Bullhead City to take on Mohave next Friday. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.