Photo by Les Stukenberg.
Bradshaw Mountain’s football team didn’t enter Week 9 in complete control of its own destiny in the Grand Canyon region title race. The surging Bears needn’t have fretted, however.
On Senior Night Friday at Bob Pavlich Field in Prescott Valley, 4A No. 24-ranked Bradshaw Mountain shut out Mohave, 35-0, to win its fourth straight game after a dismal 0-5 start, improving to 4-5 overall and 4-1 in region. Mohave, which has lost five in a row, dipped to 2-7, 1-4.
BMHS vs Mohave Football and Senior Night 102017
“We just finally started to click, and once we did it was just ‘game over’ from there,” Bradshaw Mountain junior quarterback Austin Gonzales said of the Bears’ resurgence. “Everybody started to do their own jobs, and everyone started to get their positions done. It was just great.”
Bears junior running back/defensive back Logan Brannan said his team’s comeback this season has been nothing short of gratifying.
“It means the world because, oh my, gosh, we were just down in the dumps at 0-5, but we came back,” a grinning Brannan added. “It feels great. This team, man, we’re a family. This is the closest family I’ve ever been with, and it just feels great to win.”
Defending region champion Bradshaw Mountain received a big gift from No. 20 Prescott, which upset No. 16 Flagstaff, 22-12, Friday at home. Bradshaw Mountain’s only region loss came to Flagstaff Sept. 22. Region frontrunner Mingus Union routed Coconino, 56-0, on Friday to finish league play at 5-1. But Mingus’ lone league loss came to the Bears, who hold the tiebreaker. Prescott is 4-1 in region, but it lost to Mingus.
Bears first-year coach Chuck Moller said the key to his team’s turnaround has been “execution” — limiting its penalties and turnovers, which haunted Bradshaw Mountain early in the season.
“We had games where if we hadn’t shot ourselves in the foot a few times, there were three or four games we could’ve won,” Moller added.
Now, the Bears must defeat rival Prescott Friday, Oct. 27, at Bill Shepard Field to repeat as Grand Canyon champs. Each region titlist receives an automatic berth into the 16-team 4A State Tournament, which kicks off Nov. 3.
“Starting out at 0-5 was rough — we all thought our season was over,” Bears senior wideout Devon Olson said. “We had a couple favors done for us, and we did a good job winning these last four weeks to get ourselves back in the race. So, hopefully next week we can take care of business.”
Versus Mohave, Gonzales, a 1,000-yard passer in his first season as the Bears’ starter, completed 9 of 24 passes for 180 yards and a touchdown, and he ran for two TDs of 1 and 14 yards to pace the hosts. Olson had five catches for 100 yards and a TD to lead the receiving corps.
Tailback David Mata aided in the effort, racing for a 65-yard TD on one of the prettiest runs of the evening. Junior linebacker Luke Huenemyer intercepted Mohave quarterback Brent Moore on his first pass from scrimmage as time expired in the first quarter, running it back some 30 yards for a TD.
Bradshaw Mountain’s defense stifled the Thunderbirds’ offense for most of the game, limiting Moore to 12 yards of total passing. Only junior running back William Robinzine was a factor, rushing for 169 yards on 26 carries.
“His [Moller’s] front on the defensive line — they really got on our big boys,” third-year Mohave coach Rudy Olvera said. “They’re quick, and he’s got them playing good football. Will’s our guy, and they did a good job against our scheme.”
The focus for the Bears now turns completely toward Prescott over the next six days. Brannan and Bradshaw Mountain are as confident as they’ve been all season.
“Prescott likes to run a lot — they’re just like Mohave,” Brannan said. “But we’re going to shut them down, just like we did Mohave here. This team — we’re clicking, we’re a great, great team.”
Olson had a more modest take.
“It’s the championship game for the region,” Olson said. “If we work hard this week, we’ll take care of business. It’s tough always going over to Prescott, but we should get it this week.”
Bradshaw Mountain visits region rival Prescott at 7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 27, for its regular-season finale.
Mohave concludes its season at rival Lee Williams in Kingman. Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m.
Follow Doug Cook on Twitter @dougout_dc. Reach him at 928-445-3333 ext. 2039, or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.