The Coconino Panthers got the win, keeping themselves easily in Grand Canyon Region and 4A Conference playoff contention. Even better, Panthers running back Zach Bennett added another big milestone to his resume.
Bennett on Friday became the Panthers' all-time leading rusher in the team's 35-21 road win in Cottonwood over the Mingus Union Marauders. Bennett went for 102 yards on the ground on 22 carries.
Mingus held him scoreless, but the team was facing a comeback effort following a 21-14 halftime deficit.
While Bennett couldn't find the end zone, teammate Tyson Fousel went for 146 yards on the ground and three scores. Two of Fousel's scores were on big runs -- a 46-yarder early in the second quarter and a 73-yard carry midway through the same quarter to tie the game at 14-all.
Manuel Cardoza came up big for Coconino in the second half, tallying the first two scores for Coconino off a 35-yard run in the third and an 8-yard score in the fourth. Fousel capped off the scoring with a 12-yard rush at the two-minute mark of the fourth.
The passing game was held to nothing as Ryan Seery went 0 of 4 through the air and threw one interception. Cardoza was also big defensively with 10 tackles while Andy Ruiz picked off Mingus twice in the win.
Coconino improved to 6-0 overall and 5-0 in the region, setting up a Grand Canyon Region-deciding clash with Flagstaff next week at Cromer Stadium.
Spartans 7, Cougars 0
The top-seeded Northland Prep took care of business. The Spartans shut out No. 4 Show Low and advanced to the 2A state tournament finals that are set for Saturday.
The Spartans led just 1-0 at the break and then exploded for a seven-goal win. Five different Spartans found the back of the net, with Kyra Taylor and Kiarra Hovis each netting two goals.
Ellie Karren, Hannah Petrucci and Sydney Sventek all had one goal each. Mia Blair orchestrated the offense with a team-high two assists. The Spartans roped off nearly 40 shots in the win.
Keeper Payten Schmidt made her return from a scary injury that was suffered against Chino Valley a few weeks ago. She made a few saves and looked good in the goal, Spartans head coach Michael Blair said in an email.
The Spartans will get a new foe in the title round when they try for their fourth consecutive crown. No. 2 St. Johns knocked off No. 3 Chino Valley in a penalty-kick win in the semifinals. St. Johns had already fallen to Chino Valley earlier in the season, but led 2-0 at halftime and weathered a Chino Valley surge to win in PKs.
The 2A finals are set for 4 p.m. at Coronado High School in Scottsdale.
The Flagstaff Eagles and Coconino Panthers volleyball teams are both heading to the 4A state playoffs. After each finished in the top 15 of the conference, the two learned their seedings Friday.
The 11th-seeded Panthers host No. 22 Desert Edge Tuesday at Coconino High School in the 4A play-in round, while the Eagles did enough to break into the top eight of the 4A and will skip the play-in round.
The Eagles will get a week off before hosting a first-round match at the War Memorial Gymnasium Saturday, Nov. 14.
Flagstaff beat then-No. 2 Seton Catholic in five sets Thursday, while Coconino routed Mohave in straight sets.