PRESCOTT - Junior running back Christian Setter went into the Prescott High locker room at halftime as Clark Kent and came out the second half as Superman.
After gaining only 18 yards on his last 11 carries in the first half, he exploded for 208 yards and four touchdowns in the third and fourth quarters to lead the Badgers (2-1, 0-0) to a 54-26 victory over North Canyon (0-3, 0-1) in a game that was much closer than the final score indicated.
"I was a little freaked out at halftime," said Setter, who finished with a career-high of 267 yards on 23 carries. "I calmed down and told myself that I was going to bust one."
That breakthrough came with 11:25 left in the game and Prescott holding on to a 33-26 lead. Sutter burst up the middle and outran the Rattlers' secondary for a 63-yard touchdown. Less than four minutes later, he raced 41 yards to the North Canyon 5-yard line and carried it into the end zone on the next play. With 5:31 remaining, he scampered 68 yards for a score that made it 54-26.
"Our offensive line was absolutely fantastic tonight," said Setter, who now has 467 yards rushing in the Badgers' first three games. "It was their best game this season."
"Christian stayed patient," said Prescott head coach Cody Collett. "With the tempo of our running attack, we wore those guys down."
It was a game of Prescott's running attack (342 yards) against North Canyon's potent passing offense (291 yards). Rattler senior wide receiver grabbed 13 passes for 252 yards, including touchdowns of 57, 15, and 37 yards.
When North Canyon's 6-foot 6-inch, 245-pound quarterback Trevor Leinstock was good, he was very good. When he was bad, he was generous to the Prescott defense.
Prescott jumped to a 6-0 on the opening seven-play, 60-yard drive that culminated in sophomore Ryan Greene's fourth-down, 18-yard touchdown pass to Corey Huard. On the ensuing kickoff, sophomore Solomon Enis broke through the middle and ran 80 yards to put the visitors ahead, 7-6.
Later on North Canyon's first play from scrimmage, Badger linebacker David Pearce smashed Leinstock as he was releasing a pass that fell right into the arms of Badger defensive back Austin Mengarelli, who ran it back 34 yards for a TD. Leinstock threw another pick-six to Prescott linebacker Kyle Peach that gave the Badgers a 26-20 lead at intermission.
"Any time you return two interceptions for touchdowns, it's a pretty good night," Collett said.
Greene led a crisp Badger offense for most of the game. He made several runs up the middle after fake handoffs in key situations and finished 83 yards on nine carries and 73 yards passing.
Prescott's defense stiffened in the second half when North Canyon threatened to get back in the game. A key series came in the third quarter when the Rattlers advanced to the Badgers' 29-yard line. A pair of penalties and quarterback sacks on successive plays by Jon Dwyer and Pearce pushed the visitors all the way back to their own 38-yard line. Later in the game, Wyatt Blair sacked North Canyon quarterback Keaton Mallory two plays in a row.
"With realignment [of teams by the Arizona Interscholastic Association], every single game is going to be a dogfight," Collett said. "We can win or lose every time out. Our kids are going to battle tough every game like they did tonight."