Bears pull away from Youngker in 2nd half for 2nd straight win
It looked shaky for Bradshaw Mountain’s football team in the second quarter of its 4A clash with Youngker on a hot Friday night, Sept. 6, in Buckeye.
That was not the case in the second half, however.
Bradshaw Mountain outscored Youngker 14-7 in the final 24 minutes of regulation to run away with a 24-14 victory over the Roughriders.
“At times it was an adventure — it was a little ugly,” Bears coach Chuck Moller said afterward. “Offensively, we sputtered a little bit.”
With the victory, the Bears won their second straight to improve their record to 2-1, while Youngker dipped to 0-2.
Bradshaw Mountain’s defense sparkled in this one, registering two interceptions and a blocked punt, and unofficially forcing the Roughriders into minus-yardage on 18 different carries. Senior defensive back Jacob Foshee’s interception with 4:44 left in the fourth quarter came at a key moment in the contest.
“I was really proud of our defense — we forced them into throwing every down,” Moller said.
The Bears led 10-7 at halftime, but scored a touchdown apiece in the third and fourth quarters and held on after allowing a 64-yard TD pass from Youngker QB Daniel Armenta to wideout Cody Rennaker with 2:07 to go that trimmed the visitors’ lead to 24-14.
Bradshaw Mountain quarterback Josh Grant threw two TD passes, including a 30-yard strike to Alex Cabral on a tipped pass with 6:23 to go in the third quarter and a 24-yard toss to sophomore wideout Francisco Valentin for a 24-7 lead with 8:28 remaining in regulation.
Grant unofficially completed 11 of 20 passes for 136 yards and two touchdowns. He added a 25-yard field goal with 5:29 remaining in the first quarter, although his 46-yard attempt in the third quarter was blocked.
“He threw fairly well, but we dropped some balls,” Moller said of Grant. “He just didn’t run the ball like he’s capable of running, and that gives us something to work on.”
Sophomore tailback Elijah Acuna led the Bears in rushing with five carries for 75 yards. Ismael Solano had four for 42 yards to aid in Bradshaw Mountain’s victory.
Tailback Titus King scored on a 1-yard TD run early in the opening period after the Bears recovered a blocked Roughriders punt on their first drive. Senior linebacker Daniel Gobiel was credited with the recovery.
Moller said it was the sixth consecutive game dating back to last season that the Bears have blocked a kick.
On the injury front for the Bears, junior defensive lineman Mason Stultz returned to the lineup after missing Bradshaw’s 55-21 win over Shadow Mountain Aug. 30 at Bob Pavlich Field in Prescott Valley.
He played a major role in the pass rush on Friday, notching some big sacks.
“[Sophomore] Michael Kelley played his best game so far on defensive line,” Moller added.
Backup center Katum Otero, a sophomore, also played admirably in place of regular starting sophomore center Peyton Hines, who couldn’t suit up on Friday.
“It was his first time playing varsity, and he did a good job,” Moller said of Otero. “We kind of limited what we were going to do inside. … When you’ve got young guys, it’s an adventure. ”
Youngker plays host to struggling Maryvale (0-2 record going into Friday) of 6A at 7 p.m. Sept. 13 in Buckeye.
Bradshaw Mountain concludes its first road trip at 7 p.m. Sept. 13, when it visits 4A Greenway (2-0) in Phoenix.
“Greenway’s the real deal,” Moller said. “We’ll be challenged.”
Doug Cook is a 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.