Zach Bennett passed the 1,000-yard rushing mark for the season and had another three-touchdown game, Ty Furr threw for a score and ran for another and the 16th-ranked Coconino Panthers outlasted the No. 36 Lee Williams Volunteers Friday in a Grand Canyon Region duel, 34-18.
After holding the home team off the board in the first half thanks to a few Lee Williams mistakes, the Panthers (6-2, 3-2 Grand Canyon Region) found themselves in a tight game when the Volunteers (2-6, 0-4) scored 12 unanswered points to start the third quarter to cut the deficit to 20-12.
Coconino’s defense, which allowed just two first downs in the first half, woke back up and helped seal the deal.
Cayden Fordyce blocked a punt late in the third quarter, giving Coconino good field advantage deep inside Volunteers territory. Facing a third-and-12 situation not long after the rejected punt, Furr turned a broken pass play into a 22-yard rushing TD to start the fourth quarter and give the Panthers some breathing room ahead 27-12 with the point after.
Bennett notched all three of his scores via the ground game and tallied 130 yards rushing for the Panthers, who jumped on a two-game win streak and handed the Volunteers their fourth consecutive loss. The sophomore made his third trip to the end zone in the fourth quarter on the drive following Furr’s TD for a 34-12 lead.
Bennett, needing just 22 yards to surpass 1,000, hit the milestone in the first half, in which he had back-to-back end zone appearances, becoming the the first Coconino player to get 1,000 yards in a season since the 2011 season.
Coconino’s defense was solid in the first half, with Manuel Cordoza recovering a forced fumble and Brian Gutierrez coming away with an interception, but the offense failed to capitalize on either turnover. It was Cordoza’s second fumble recovery of the season and Gutierrez’s second pick of the year.
Coconino's Kyle Casados had a good two-way game, picking up a Lee Williams fumble and gathering in a Furr 19-yard, second-quarter pass for a score that helped his team take a 20-lead into halftime. The sophomore wide receiver ended his night with two catches for 30 yards and the TD, nearly picked off Lee Williams quarterback Enzo Marino early in the game and broke up a two-point conversion attempt late in the final quarter.
Lee Williams, led by their quarterback who had two rushing TDs and a team-high 114 yards on the ground, saw a TD called off on a chop block penalty in the second quarter. The next try at the touchdown turned into the Gutierrez pick.
Furr tallied about 60 yards running and had 57 yards passing to go with a pick and TD pass.
Set to play a fellow 4A Conference opponent while taking a break from the region slate, Coconino plays the No. 9 Cactus Cobras in Glendale next week before hosting the season finale against crosstown rival Flagstaff.
SENTINELS 56, EAGLES 26
No. 27-ranked Flagstaff dug themselves a deep first-half hole on the road against No. 6 Seton Catholic, losing the 4A matchup in Chandler.
Seton (7-1, 2-1 Desert Sky Region) opened with a 21-point first quarter and answered it with a 21-point second quarter, ending the first half with a dominant 42-6 lead over the Eagles and the Sentinels never looked back.
In the first half alone, Sentinels quarterback Vincent Wallace threw for five touchdowns passes, matching his season high.
The lone score for the Eagles in the opening half came off a 23-yard touchdown pass thrown by backup quarterback Joe Weidinger to wide receiver Ryan Tagle. The 23-yard toss is Weidinger's first touchdown pass of the season.
Weidinger came in for Henry Tagle after the starter left the game with an injury. Weidinger, in his first real game action of the year, finished 10-for-14 passing and 151 yards.
On the first possession coming out of the break, the Eagles seemed to be moving the ball well but fumbled in Seton territory, resulting in a 60-yard return a score.
The Eagles scored 20 points in the fourth quarter against mostly Seton reserves.
Running backs Luis Jaramillo and Josh Morrow each ran in scores for the Eagles. Jaramillo got his 14th rushing touchdown of the season to lead Flagstaff while Morrow scored his fourth of the year.
Jaramillo also eclipsed the 1,000-yard mark with a 156-yard performance. The break-out sophomore now has ran for 1,035 yards this season.
The Eagles fell to 3-5 overall on the non-region game, sitting at 2-2 in the Grand Canyon Region with two more games left in the regular season.
Flagstaff hosts No. 18 Mingus Union (7-2, 4-1 Grand Canyon), which is fresh off a 28-6 win over Bradshaw Mountain Friday night, in the Walkup Skydome Friday at 7:30 p.m.
SAND DEVILS 56, HORNETS 6
Page continued its domination of the 3A North Region with a rout of Ganado on the road.
Like the 66-0 win over Tuba City and the 94-0 demolition of Window Rock (Fort Defiance), this one was decided very early. The Sand Devils were up 24-0 just four minutes into the game and held a 48-0 lead at halftime.
On their Senior Night, the Hornets were no match for a juggernaut Page attack that has already amassed 376 points in a 7-1 season. Kele Meredith, aiming for a 2,000-yard rushing yard season, scored twice. His 77-yard burst got Page on the board first.
Robert Smith, now Page's primary quarterback with the loss of junior Gabe Gomez, tossed two TD passes, ran for another and accounted for three two-point conversions.
Ganado, 28th in the 3A power points coming in, lost its best playmaker in its first series. Tony Shirley, a 906-yard rusher with 10 touchdowns, departed with an injury, and the Hornets did not threaten until reaching the red zone for the first time midway through the fourth quarter.
Adriano Wilson's TD reception with 6:59 to play produced the first points allowed by Page in region play.
Page, No. 4 in the 3A entering Friday, also had two touchdowns from Brandon James and one each from Hayden Gracia and Dainian Sloan. The Sand Devils are enjoying their best start since 1984 and have a shot at hosting their first state playoff game since 1995.
The Sand Devils will travel to Chinle next Friday. The Wildcats were also 2-0 in the region entering their game Friday night with Window Rock.
COUGARS 6, SAND DEVILS 1
Angel Sanchez scored four goals Friday to lead second-ranked Chino Valley to a win at Page.
Sanchez, who leads his team with 31 goals, produced a 2-0 lead with goals in the seventh and 19th minutes on solid work from the left side. Zack Ruiz responded with a goal 8:55 before halftime that cut the lead to 2-1 and rejuvenated a Page team that lost to Chino Valley twice last year, 10-0 and 8-0.
The Sand Devils could not sustain the momentum over a second half that saw two more Sanchez goals along with one each from Jordan Sanchez and Willie Chinchilla. Chino Valley finished with a shots-on-goal advantage of 14-3. The last 20 minutes were played in gathering darkness, as the field lights were non-operable.
Page (6-3 overall, 5-2 Central Region) started the day at No. 7 in the 2A Conference rankings.
The top eight make the state tournament field starting Oct. 24. Page finishes the regular season next Wednesday at No. 4 Camp Verde and Friday at No. 16 Grand Canyon (Tusayan).
At stake for Page will be its first state playoff appearance in 11 years.
Page's cross country teams swept the Lake Powell Invitational Friday at Lake Powell National Golf Course.
The four-time defending state Division III boys team took the top three individual spots and rolled with 20 team points.
Page's Morgan Fowler won the 5,000-meter race in a time of 16 minutes, 9.1 seconds, followed by teammates Trent Holiday (16:31.7) and Bowen Martin (16:32.7), ranked second among all Arizona boys. Kaipo Uejo was sixth and Skyler Sandoval eighth.
Tuba City was second with 60 points. Chinle (69) was third, Monument Valley (90) fourth and St. Michael fifth. On the girls side, Page won with 33 points, followed by St. Michael (53), Chinle (62), Tuba City (70), Monument Valley (127) and Rock Point (154).
The girls race was won by Chinle's Alisia Honyumptewa in 18:44.4. For Page, Miquedah Taliman (20:33.0) was third overall, Nahaniya Fowler (20:39.6) fourth, Jaddah Whitehair (21:19.6) seventh, Sofia Bryan (21:36.8) ninth and Mikala Benally (21:41.5) was 11th.