TEMPE – Collin Mills had 13 carries for 60 yards and two touchdowns, Ryan Greene threw for another, but Marcos de Niza outscored the Badgers 35-6 in the second half for a 44-23 win over Prescott on Friday night.
Despite Prescott taking a 17-9 lead into the locker room at halftime, Marcos de Niza scored three unanswered touchdowns in the fourth quarter, solidifying its top five ranking by most preseason polls in the 4A conference.
“We gave everything we had. Marcos was too much. They came at us in waves. They are a really outstanding football team,” first-year Prescott head coach Michael Gilpin said in a phone interview. “They took our best punch, we stood and swung with Mike Tyson and they caught us.”
Zyayre Moss scored all three of his touchdowns in the second half for the Padres, including a 10-yard catch from quarterback Nazareth Greer to put his team up 30-23 with 11:14 to play and they never looked back.
Prescott’s lone score in the second half came off a 35-yard touchdown strike from Greene to wide receiver John Chaffeur to put the Badgers up 23-15 with 6:22 to play in the third quarter.
“Ryan ran really well, but we missed several throws, so we have to double-down on our effort to get him back to where he was last year,” Gilpin said. “He’s struggling a bit, it’s just confidence.”
In the first quarter, a 27-yard field goal by Bryce Peters gave the Badgers a 3-0 lead, then Mills put Prescott up 9-6 on his first touchdown run of the night with 4:17 to play in the first half.
Mills made it 17-9 with just under a minute to play on a 1-yard score for his second touchdown.
“He was really lathered up and running downhill. … He was leaning on guys, and it made a difference,” Gilpin said about Mills. “[Marcos] was on their heels, but we ran out of steam and they’re too good for that. You have to hold strong for four quarters.”
Marcos de Niza (1-0, 0-0 4A Desert Sky) will host Cactus on Friday, Sept. 2. The Cobras earned a Week 1 victory against Bradshaw Mountain by the final score of 70-49.
Prescott (0-1, 0-0 4A Grand Canyon) will return home in Week 2 to host Combs.
Kickoff for both games is scheduled for 7 p.m.
Brian M. Bergner Jr. is a sports writer and columnist for The Daily Courier. Follow him on Twitter, Instagram, Periscope and SoundCloud at @SportsWriter52, or on Facebook at @SportsAboveTheFold. Reach him by phone at 928-445-3333, ext. 1106.