Photo by Les Stukenberg.
Originally Published: October 6, 2017 11:25 p.m.
CHINO VALLEY — Nobody was going to spoil the Homecoming party Friday night for the Chino Valley football team.
The Cougars snapped a two-game losing streak, grinding out a 27-20 win over Kingman in a big 3A West clash.
CVHS Vs Kingman Football & Homecoming Royalty 100617
“We came out confident and felt we could succeed,” freshman quarterback Seth Jelovic said, “and it’s Homecoming. You can’t lose on Homecoming.”
Chino Valley improves to 4-3 overall and 1-1 in the league, while Kingman falls to 2-5 and 0-2.
“We went out and we just stuck to it,” said Chino Valley coach Wade Krug, whose team is also home the next two Friday nights for big league games against Wickenburg and Northwest Christian. “We didn’t fold, stayed strong and everything worked out.”
Chino Valley broke open a close game with two second-half touchdowns.
Jelovic connected on a big play with Mike Paulus for an 87-yard touchdown pass with two minutes left in the third quarter. Paulus got a step on his defender, caught the pass near midfield and raced untouched into the end zone. A Matt Rios kick put the Cougars in front, 20-12.
“That’s our Lobo play,” Krug said. “Our receiver has the option of running a hitch or go. Seth had great protection, and Mikey was able to run under it and run it in.”
“I knew it was the correct call,” Jelovic said. “I saw the cornerback step up. I got a three-step drop, saw Mikey flash open and just threw it.”
After Kingman turned the ball over on downs on its next possession, Chino Valley’s Darren Phipps carried the ball three straight times, culminating with a 4-yard TD run in the fourth quarter with just under 4 minutes to play. A Rios extra point gave the Cougars some breathing room with a 27-12 lead.
After a scoreless first quarter, the scoring was fast and furious in the final six minutes of the second quarter.
Chino Valley got its first break when Colton Sandberg recovered a fumble early in the second quarter, giving the Cougars possession in Kingman territory for the first time at the 45.
The Cougars failed to pick up a first down, and Kingman struck quickly when quarterback Darrell Mitchell connected with James Carter on a short pass that Carter carried all the way down to the Chino Valley 6. Chino Valley’s defense stopped the Bulldogs on four downs, but Kingman scored first when Josh Proffit intercepted a Jelovic pass at the goal line and fell into the end zone for a touchdown.
A personal foul and a penalty gave Chino Valley the ball at midfield, and the Cougars took advantage. They finally picked up a first down on a 10-yard run by Paulus, and Jelovic connected with Sandberg on a pass for another first down. Paulus then scored on a 25-yard run, bouncing off one defender and racing into the right corner of the end zone.
The lead was short lived, as Kingman scored on its first play from scrimmage when Austin Dias busted off an 80-yard run for a touchdown.
Chino Valley came right back with another quick score, with a five-play drive capped off by a 35-yard touchdown run by Canyon Brimhall to take a 13-12 lead into halftime.
The Cougars nearly scored on a 16-yard run by Paulus early in the third quarter. He took a pitch from Jelovic, but was brought down and fumbled just before reaching the end zone. Kingman recovered.
Kingman did pull within a touchdown with 33 seconds remaining on a 58-yard touchdown pass by Mitchell, but the ensuing onside kick failed and Chino Valley was able to run out the clock for the victory.
Chino Valley hosts Wickenburg on Oct. 13. Kick off is set for 7 p.m.