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Sun, Sept. 22

Badgers lose Ken Lindley Field opener to Canyon Del Oro 23-13
Prep Football

Prescott’s Sylas Espetia runs for a touchdown as the Badgers held their 2019 home opener at Ken Lindley Field Friday, Aug. 30, 2019.  (Les Stukenberg/Courier)

Prescott’s Sylas Espetia runs for a touchdown as the Badgers held their 2019 home opener at Ken Lindley Field Friday, Aug. 30, 2019. (Les Stukenberg/Courier)

PRESCOTT — Prescott football’s brief saga of playing its home games at Ken Lindley Field started off on the wrong foot as the Badgers let it slip away against Canyon Del Oro 23-13 on Friday night.

As Bill Shepard Field continues its renovation, the Badgers scheduled their home games at Ken Lindley Field, raising plenty of questions regarding how well the downtown venue would house the sizable turnout of an average Prescott football game.

It turns out, Ken Lindley Field proved to be a respectable venue. The thing that wasn’t respectable was Prescott’s uninspired performance, especially coming out of the half.

“Obviously, we can’t have a third quarter like we had. We had a horrible third quarter,” Prescott head coach Cody Collett said. “At the end of the day, that’s my fault but we did some things that were uncharacteristic of our program like a lot of stupid penalties and things that we don’t typically do. We have to clean that up. It’s pretty simple.”

Coming into the game, Canyon Del Oro was riding the momentum of a huge 59-0 victory in its season opener against Flowing Wells.

Prescott fell short in its season opener 34-24, but the Badgers at least put up a tough battle against a Desert Edge team that was a semifinalist in last year’s state playoffs.

The first half on Friday featured a slow-paced, low-scoring affair where neither side gained any significant yardage. The Dorados did find some daylight when they recovered a Prescott fumble and then punched it up the gut during the ensuing possession for the touchdown.

The Dorados finished the first quarter with a 7-0 lead but the Badgers wound up catching their bearings in the second. Prescott cut the lead down to one when quarterback Dellinger Boyd made a slick handoff to running back Sylas Espitia, who then muscled his way up the middle for the touchdown.

Canyon Del Oro, however, did manage to block the following field goal, which was something they did to the Badgers on multiple occasions throughout the game. Of course, Collett said the blocked kicks were just some of the many miscues that derailed the Badgers from gaining any sort of separation. On the bright side, the Boyd-Espitia duo went back to work right before the break. This time, the Badgers’ defense tackled the Dorados’ punter one yard away from the end zone, which gave Boyd and Espitia the opportunity to run a similar play and give Prescott a 13-7 advantage heading into the break.

Unfortunately for the Badgers, halftime seemed to zap them of all their focus and energy as they failed to score the rest of the game.

Meanwhile, a field goal and a Cory Bonstrom touchdown regained the lead for the Dorados and it was no looking back from there.

Prescott continued to have a nightmarish fourth quarter offensively as Canyon Del Oro’s swarming defense stood its ground against all that came its way. This included a big interception from Dorados’ Ethan Seppala, which essentially put the game on ice.

The Dorados went on to nail two more field goals to give themselves a comfortable 23-13 lead that ultimately spelled curtains for the Badgers.

The loss dropped Prescott’s record to a concerning 0-2 to start their 2019 campaign and when asked what the Badgers need to do to climb out of this hole, Collett couldn’t have been any more blunt.

“Win the next one,” he said.

UP NEXT

Prescott will continue to search for its first season victory as it hosts Moon Valley (0-1) on Friday, Sept. 6 at Ken Lindley Field with kickoff at 7 p.m. If all goes according to plan, this will be the final time Prescott plays at Ken Lindley Field before returning to Bill Shepard Field to host Flagstaff on Sept. 20.

Aaron Valdez is a sports reporter for The Daily Courier of Prescott News Network. Follow him on Twitter at @Valaaron_94. Email avaldez@prescottaz.com or call 928-445-3333, ext. 2031.

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