Photo by Doug Cook.
Originally Published: October 15, 2016 6 a.m.
PRESCOTT VALLEY — Bradshaw Mountain High’s football team remained unbeaten atop the 4A Conference’s Grand Canyon Region after throttling Kingman Lee Williams on Friday night, Oct. 14.
The 4A No. 12-ranked Bears, winners of four in a row, defeated the Volunteers, 55-12, at Bob Pavlich Field with two games now left in the 2016 regular season.
Bradshaw’s record stands at 6-2 overall and 4-0 in region. Lee Williams dipped to 3-5 and 1-4.
Mingus Union stayed in second place in the region at 4-1 after defeating Flagstaff High on Friday. The Bears beat the Marauders, 27-14, Sept. 30, in Prescott Valley. Bradshaw will likely need to beat both region cellar dweller Mohave next Friday and rival Prescott at home in the finale Oct. 28 to win the region title outright.
“We focus more and more every week because we know what region champs means – it means we get to go to the playoffs, it means we get to extend our season,” Bradshaw senior quarterback Gunner Bundrick said. “Especially as seniors, we know we get one more game, we get to keep moving forward with doing what we love.”
On Friday, Bundrick ran for two touchdowns of 26 and 55 yards in the first quarter and tossed two touchdown passes of 58 and 17 yards in the second quarter.
Bears tailback Olijah Sally, playing in only his third game of the season after transferring at the beginning of the school year from Illinois, scored three touchdowns. He had a 42-yard TD run, caught Bundrick’s 17-yard TD pass, and ran back a kickoff 80 yards for a TD with 5 minutes left in the third quarter.
“It was a kick return left, so I went to the sideline to see what was happening – then I saw all my guys right in front of me, so I thought, ‘This is going to be easy,’ ” Sally said of his 80-yard score. “They were giving these great blocks and everything, then I cut in the middle and just took it the rest of the way.”
Bradshaw coach David Moran said Sally is “a playmaker.”
“He wants the ball in his hands and he adds another weapon to our offense, and obviously on special teams as well,” Moran added. “He’s a good leader. He’s been here for the kids, our football team since Day 1.”
The Bears didn’t let up in the first half. Two plays after Bradshaw defensive back Reece Thompson made an interception, wideout Tim Young caught Bundrick’s 58-yard TD pass with 8:31 to go until halftime for a 35-0 Bradshaw lead. On Lee Williams’ ensuing possession, Bears senior linebacker Jacob Walker recovered Vols QB Andrew Herrera’s fumble deep in the Vols’ own end and scored from some 15 yards out.
“It was a bad snap to the quarterback, and then the quarterback went back to dive on it, and when he dove on it, one of our guys was there, too,” Walker said. “They both dove on it and the ball popped out and I was there to grab it. Right place, right time.”
Up 41-0 inside of a minute remaining before halftime, a long Lee Williams drive stalled on downs at the Bradshaw 23. With only 17 seconds left, Bundrick ran 60 yards to reach the Vols’ 17. On the next play, with 3 seconds left, Bundrick found Sally in the end zone as time expired.
Bradshaw Mountain led 48-0 at halftime after scoring 28 points in the first quarter and 20 points in the second quarter to take firm control.
Lee Williams did not score until 5 minutes and 28 seconds left in the third quarter when Herrera threw a 7-yard TD pass to tight end Edmond Ashton. That made it 48-6 after a failed two-point conversion run, but Sally’s return on the ensuing kickoff took the air completely out of the Vols’ sails.
For most of the second half, both teams were on a running clock and Bradshaw played its second- and third-string defenses. With 10 minutes left in regulation, Lee Williams running back Tyler Miner ran in from two yards out, but another 2-point try failed, resulting in the 55-12 final.