Originally Published: August 25, 2018 11:05 p.m.
FLAGSTAFF — Valley Christian outscored Chino Valley’s football team 28-6 in the second half and went on to rout the Cougars, 42-13, in their 2018 season opener Saturday at Walkup Skydome.
On the campus of Northern Arizona University, Chino Valley led 7-0 with 4 minutes and 36 seconds left in the second quarter on a 20-yard touchdown reception from Elijah Scordato on fourth down. But it was basically all Valley Christian from there in the 3A clash.
In the final 2 minutes before halftime, the Trojans scored consecutive TDs. They tied it at 7-7 on a 30-yard TD reception by Tanner Canfield, which went through Cougars’ defenders hands, and nabbed the lead for good with 25 seconds to go on Tyler Crouch’s 50-yard interception return for TD.
Shortly thereafter, Chino Valley got frustrated.
“We have the athletes and the kids to play this game,” Cougars coach Wade Krug said afterward. “But we can’t fold and point fingers. We can’t get into a jawing match with our opponent.”
Down 14-7 at half, two big plays from Valley Christian in the third quarter put the game out of reach for Chino Valley. An 82-yard TD pass from Peyton Hanzal to Andrew Hanzal, coupled with a 2-point conversion, made it 22-7. Then, Canfield registered a 32-yard interception return for TD for a 29-7 lead at the end of the third.
“The breakdown was when they scored right away in the second half and they got that pick-6,” Krug said. “Our biggest hurdle is our mental strength. We need to work on that. It’s the one point I’m most disappointed about.”
Michael Paulus scored the Cougars’ lone touchdown of the second half in the fourth. However, trailing 29-13, the Trojans’ Shane Dunn reached pay dirt on a 1-yard TD run and Nathan Dykstra followed with a short TD scamper of his own in the final 6:40 to end it.
Chino Valley (0-1 overall record) visits Tuba City (0-1) at 7 p.m. Aug. 31.
Valley Christian (1-0) plays host to Scottsdale Christian (2-0) at 7 p.m. Aug. 31.
Doug Cook is a sports reporter for The Daily Courier. Follow him on Twitter at @dougout_dc. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 928-445-3333, ext. 2039.