The Chino Valley football team scored first. The Fountain Hills football team scored often.
Fountain Hills overpowered Chino Valley, 52-6, Friday night, breaking up a close game with a touchdown just before halftime and another touchdown on the opening drive of the third quarter.
Chino Valley saw its two-game win streak come to an end, dropping to 3-2. Fountain Hills improves its record to 3-2.
Fountain Hills wore Chino Valley down with its size and athleticism.
“They (Fountain Hills) are the most athletic team we’ve faced,” Chino Valley coach Wade Krug said. “They’ve always been a big team. We just don’t have that kind of size. We have a lot of kids at our school that are that big, but they’re just not playing football.”
Fountain Hills quarterback Garrett Renner was having so much fun at the onset of the fourth quarter, he was making the gyrations to the YMCA song on the sound system as he stood behind the center. He then took the opening snap and threw a deep pass downfield to Dakota Hamby for an 84-yard touchdown.
Renner also ran for two touchdowns, as did running back Cole Lupien to power the Falcons’ offense.
The Falcons seized control at the beginning of the third quarter. A 31-yard pass completion from Renner to tight end Tom Ferington set up a 2-yard TD run by Lupien as Fountain Hills went up 24-3 with 9:12 to play in the period.
“Scoring right away in the third quarter, that kind of set the tempo for the rest of the game,” Renner said. “We just did a good job of finding the open man.”
After the two teams traded interceptions, Fountain Hills scored on a 2-yard run by Renner for a 31-3 advantage.
The game was close for most of the first half, until Fountain Hills got a huge break and took a 17-3 lead into halftime. A bad snap on a Chino Valley punt gave the Falcons the ball on the Cougars’ 34-yard line with 2 minutes left in the half. On the next play, Renner connected on a 31-yard pass down the right sideline to Hamby. Lupien ran the ball up the middle from 3 yards out to put the Falcons up by two touchdowns with just 6 seconds left to play in the first half.
“Our defense kept us in the game,” Krug said of the first half. “We just had a lot of trouble moving the ball.”
Fountain Hills took the lead for good with its first touchdown with just under 3 minutes left in the first quarter. It got the ball in good field position after quarterback Mike Paulus was sacked twice, and the Cougars were forced to punt from deep in their end zone. A 10-yard punt gave the Falcons possession on the Chino Valley 14, and Renner ran it in on the first play.
Paulus started the game at quarterback for Chino Valley, but gave way to Seth Jelovic late in the first quarter.
“His (Paulus) shoulder is bothering him,” Krug said. “He was really struggling throwing the ball, and he said Seth should give it a go.”
The two teams traded field goals to open the scoring in the first quarter. Matt Rios put the Cougars in front with a 33-yard kick with just under 7 minutes to play in the quarter. Rios saved a touchdown with a tackle on the ensuing kickoff, but the Falcons had good field position on the Chino Valley 43. After picking up one first down, Collin Robbins kicked a 37-yard field goal to tie the score.
The game was delayed for approximately 20 minutes in the fourth quarter, after Darren Phipps suffered a chest injury on a tackle. He was transported to the hospital by paramedics.
Three former Chino Valley Athletes were inducted into the school’s athletic Hall of Fame. They are Jesse Clark, Seth Larson and Donny Roskopf.
Clark, a 1992 graduate, was a key member of the school’s first two soccer state championship teams in 1990 and 1991. … Larson, a 2000 graduate, played four years as a varsity starter, and was selected to numerous all-region and all-state teams. He received the Heart of the Cougar award as a junior. ... Roskopf, a 1999 graduate, left the high school as one of the all-time greats during his basketball career. He was voted the 3A West Player of the Year as a senior, and was the all-time points leader.