Ryan Greene ran for 189 yards and a touchdown, Austin Clark threw for two scores and the Prescott football team kept their playoff hopes alive with a 22-12 win over Flagstaff on Friday night.
It is the fourth win in the last five games for the No. 20-ranked Badgers, which may move up the 4A state power point rankings after the victory over No. 16 Flagstaff.
It was also the first home win of the season for Prescott, which came into Friday sporting an 0-3 record at Bill Shepard Field this season, but are 5-0 on the road.
Up 16-12 with 3:43 to play in the game, quarterback Austin Clark found Greene in the middle of the field on a screen play and the senior standout did the rest, making two Eagle tacklers miss on his way to a 72-yard touchdown run.
Fans were forced to hold their breath in the bitter cold after two different referees threw the dreaded yellow hankie onto the turf during the play.
The 45-second pause ended quickly with an eruption of cheers from the Prescott sideline and the fans behind them when the referees picked up the flags to waive them off.
Greene said after the game it was a big moment for him and was elated to celebrate it with his teammates. The senior jack-of-all-trades even recorded a sack on the night from the linebacker position.
“We came in today, everyone was pumped, everyone was ready. We knew we had to win it to stay in the playoff hunt,” Greene said. “At the end, I was so proud of our guys. We were kicking butt.”
Prescott (6-3, 4-1 Grand Canyon) held the Eagles to just 123 yards of offense and only six first downs, something head coach Michael Gilpin was most proud of.
“During the week, we made a commitment. My defensive staff, they get all the credit,” Gilpin said, adding they switched schemes and personnel defensively after surrendering over 500 yards of offense in a 38-6 loss to Mingus two weeks ago.
“We’ve been getting run on too much, and we think we have the talent for that not to happen,” Gilpin said. “I challenged them to focus, and they showed up today.”
Flagstaff co-head coach Paul Wolf credited the Badgers on a well-played game.
“Prescott has a great team, a great team over there. We knew it was going to be tough,” Wolf said. “We couldn’t get in sync, had some injuries. The second half was great, it just took awhile.”
Clark completed 5 of 8 passes for 103 yards and two touchdowns, his first coming on a 21-yard pass to Ian Porter with 54 seconds left in the first half, making it a 16-6 game.
After No. 19-ranked Mingus took care of business in Flagstaff with a 56-0 win over Coconino, that pushed the Marauders record to 5-1 in the Grand Canyon region.
But with No. 24-ranked Bradshaw Mountain claiming a 35-0 shutout win over Mohave, the Bears and Badgers are tied at 4-1 for second place, while Flagstaff (6-3, 3-2 Grand Canyon) likely falls out of playoff contention.
And since the Bears own the tiebreaker with Mingus, having beaten the Marauders 45-16 on Sept. 29, Bradshaw Mountain has a chance to claim the Grand Canyon region title with a win over the Badgers next week.
Prescott hosts Bradshaw Mountain in the cross-town rivalry game Friday, Oct. 27. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.
Brian M. Bergner Jr. is sports editor and a columnist for The Daily Courier. Follow him on Twitter, Instagram and SoundCloud at @SportsWriter52, or on Facebook at @SportsAboveTheFold. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or 928-445-3333, ext. 1106.