First-quarter woes hurt Badgers in 40-29 state playoff loss to No. 6 Greenway
Updated as of Saturday, November 3, 2018 12:23 AM
EDITOR'S NOTE: This story has been updated from an earlier version.
Clark throws for 3 TDs, runs for another as late comeback falls short for Prescott
PHOENIX — Quarterback Austin Clark threw for three touchdowns and ran for another, but it wasn’t enough as No. 6-ranked Greenway burst out of the gates offensively with 24 points in the first quarter and held on late for a 40-29 win over Prescott on Friday night.
It was the first state playoff appearance since 2012 for the Badgers (7-4, 5-1 Grand Canyon), which had won four straight games before losing to Mingus in the Grand Canyon region title game a week ago.
Demons’ running back T.J. Murphy had 144 yards rushing and three touchdowns, his last two coming in the fourth quarter as the Demons fought off a furious Prescott comeback after they had them down 24-6 in the first quarter.
“I would love to be able to answer that, what happened in the first quarter. We came out sluggish, they made plays early on,” Prescott head coach Cody Collett said when asked about his team’s slow start Friday night. “After that, we turned it on, fell into the flow of the game, but you can’t spot a 9-1 team a 24-6 lead.”
Murphy’s 10-yard touchdown run with 11:01 left put the Demons up 34-22, then on his squad’s next possession, scored again on a 5-yard run to make it 40-22 with 9:04 left and Greenway never looked back.
The Demons never trailed at any point in the game, taking a 7-0 lead off an 11-yard touchdown run by Murphy at the 10:47 mark in the first quarter.
For Prescott, Clark threw for 151 yards, connecting on touchdown passes to three different receivers, while running for more than 140 yards and another score in the loss.
Trailing 24-9 at halftime, Clark found Dellin Boyd in the back right corner of the end zone, then found Jovanni Ruiz with 1:24 left in the third quarter to cut Greenway’s lead to five, 27-22.
But after back-to-back touchdown runs by Murphy, Clark’s 35-yard strike to Jacob Police with 7:28 left in the ball game came too little, too late.
Although Collett is now 0-2 in state playoff games, having lost 52-14 to Ironwood Ridge in his first year, he said he was “very proud” of his squad for making the state playoffs this season. The Badgers were one of 17 clubs to win seven-plus games in 4A this season out of 47 total.
“We should set our sets on returning to state and doing damage next season,” Collett said.
Greenway (10-1, 5-0 Skyline) advances to the second round of the 4A state playoffs against No. 3-ranked Desert Edge next week.
The Scorpions (8-3, 4-0 West Valley) pummeled Walden Grove 49-10 in their first round game Friday night.
The Demons’ only loss this season came at the hands of Prescott’s rival, Bradshaw Mountain, in a 42-20 Week 3 loss.
Kickoff between Desert Edge and Greenway is set for 7 p.m.
Brian M. Bergner Jr. is news/sports editor for The Daily Courier of Prescott News Network. Follow him on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and SoundCloud at @TheEditorDesk. Email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 928-445-3333, ext. 1106.