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Fri, Nov. 22

Badgers throttle Mohave 56-0; region title out of reach
Prep Football

Brayden Nelson (12) celebrates with Sylas Espitia (1) after Nelson scored a touchdown against Mohave on Friday, Oct. 18, 2019, in Prescott. The Badgers won 56-0. (Aaron Valdez/Courier)

Brayden Nelson (12) celebrates with Sylas Espitia (1) after Nelson scored a touchdown against Mohave on Friday, Oct. 18, 2019, in Prescott. The Badgers won 56-0. (Aaron Valdez/Courier)

PRESCOTT — While there is no such thing as perfect, the Badgers might have to disagree after delivering a stellar performance during their 56-0 dismantling of Mohave on Friday night.

Since it was Prescott football’s final home game of the regular season, the senior players were recognized as part of the traditional senior night festivities. It was potentially the last time the seniors would play in front of their home crowd but that may not entirely be the case.

While Prescott lost out on a share of the region title after Coconino trounced Lee Williams Friday night, the team is still in playoff picture.

Prescott head coach Cody Collett said he already accepted that his team won’t be claiming any part of the region title. However, he did say that he is already looking ahead to the state playoffs.

“Coco is winning the region. We’re focused on trying to win these next couple of ball games and get in the playoffs,” Collett said. “After that, if you get in, it’s a whole new season. We want to get these next two and try to get in. That’s our goal right now.”

As for the game against Mohave, this was the Badgers’ largest margin of victory this season. The Thunderbirds were simply not as polished as the Badgers and it showed right from the start.

by Aaron Valdez

On the first possession of the night, senior quarterback Dellin Boyd found a big hole in the defense and drove the ball 65 yards for the game’s first touchdown. After that, there was overwhelming feeling that the Badgers’ offense was going to have a big night.

Lo and behold, that’s exactly what happened as the Badgers rattled off for three more touchdowns in the first quarter. Without stalwart running back Sam Giordan, who suffered a severe knee injury in last week’s game against Bradshaw Mountain, Collett looked to Ethan Pena to help fill that void.

Pena definitely stepped up to the plate as he wreaked havoc on the Mohave defense. The senior ran in two touchdowns in the first quarter and then capped off his performance with a 24-yard touchdown in the second quarter to put the Badgers up 35-0.

“Sylas [Espitia] had to step in and play defense because Sam went out. So I had to take some carries at running back and just went in there and did the best I could,” Pena said.

With the score 42-0 at the half, the Badgers took their foot off the gas for the rest of the game. However, their defense still held strong and prevented the Thunderbirds from making any significant drives, or even a first down for that matter.

by Aaron Valdez

Boyd finished the game with two rushing touchdowns and one passing touchdown while Espitia and wide receiver Brayden Nelson each tallied one touchdown. Despite it being senior night, it was a freshman who scored the most memorable touchdown as Cody Leopold barreled his way through the defense for a 40-yard TD to make it a 56-0 game.

“I think we’re starting to hit our stride. I feel like we’re one bad half, against Coconino, away from being a top eight-type seed,” Collett said. “We’re getting better every week and we’re going to have a good hard-nosed week of practice and get ready to play a good Lee Williams team next week.”

PLAYOFF PICTURE

The top 16 teams in the 4A power point rankings will qualify for the state playoffs. However, the top three teams — which currently are Salpointe Catholic, Saguaro and Canyon Del Oro — will qualify for the open division playoff, a completely separate bracket.

The next 16 teams following those open division teams will qualify for the 4A state playoffs. Prescott is currently ranked No. 16 but would be reseeded to No. 13 if everything holds.

UP NEXT

The Badgers (5-3, 3-1 Grand Canyon) will end their regular-season schedule on the road starting with a game against Lee Williams (3-3, 1-2 Grand Canyon) on Friday, Oct. 25.

“We just got to keep playing our brand of football. Keep playing together. We can’t spread out like we did against Coco but just keep doing what we’re doing,” Pena said.

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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