Photo by Les Stukenberg.
Originally Published: August 26, 2017 6:04 a.m.
PHS vs Marco De Niza Football 082517
Ryan Greene had 19 carries for 156 yards and two touchdowns, but the Prescott football team failed to secure a 14-0 first quarter lead and suffered a 15-14 heartbreaking loss in their home opener to Marcos de Niza on Friday night.
Both touchdowns by Greene came in the opening quarter, the first coming off a 38-yard scamper on the very first offensive play for the Badgers.
“The offensive line was blocking crazy good,” Greene said.
Greene made it 14-0 on a 5-yard run with 38 seconds to play in the first quarter for Prescott, which surrendered 15 unanswered points over the final three periods in the loss.
“We couldn’t get off the field defensively in the second half, and it really led to us interrupting our rhythm offensively,” second-year Prescott head coach Michael Gilpin said. “We are a rhythm offense, it’s very difficult when six minutes goes by and we haven’t been on the field.”
Prescott had multiple opportunities to score in the second quarter after moving the ball successfully inside the Padres’ own 20-yard line, but failed to come away with points after Gilpin made a few personnel changes.
“I think that I was trying to get a little too cute on offense with personal groups, formation changes and things, and it led to some confusion,” Gilpin said.
Gilpin spread Greene out wide and put backup quarterback Aaron Greene in the game, replacing Austin Clark. That led to confusion, and a turnover on downs.
“That’s obviously on me, and that needs to get fixed,” Gilpin said.
Prescott (0-1, 0-0 4A Grand Canyon) committed 10 penalties for 110 yards, 90 of which came in the second half, including two illegal motion penalties on Badger punts in the third quarter.
Padres returners fumbled both punts and Prescott recovered, but the turnovers were called back thanks to the penalties.
“I think we need to tighten up our mistakes. … Turnovers win games, so if we avoid the mistakes, like a few missed errors on punt where we could have gotten the ball, and that would have changed the game,” Prescott safety Colton Amos said.
In the third quarter, a bad snap went over Clark’s head during a punt attempt, sailing in the end zone and giving Marcos de Niza (1-0, 0-0 4A Desert Sky) a safety and making it a 14-8 affair with 2:31 left in the period.
In the fourth quarter, Padres quarterback Marcos Moreno connected with Caleb Park on a 20-yard touchdown pass with 11:42 remaining in the game, taking a 15-14 lead.
They never trailed again.
Despite the loss, Greene gave kudos to the defensive side of the ball for Prescott.
“The defense looked good. I’m so proud of our defense, they held up their end and did everything you could ask for,” Greene said.
In 2016, Prescott surrendered 44 points in a 44-23 loss to open the season at Marcos de Niza.
Offensively for Prescott, Clark was 5 for 9 for only 40 yards, but didn’t turn the ball over for Prescott, which managed only 221 total yards of offense.
Prescott is scheduled to travel to the San Tan Valley to play Combs (0-1) on Friday, Sept. 1. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.
Brian M. Bergner Jr. is associate 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.