Home Sweet Home: Prescott demolishes Flagstaff in return to Bill Shepard Field
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PRESCOTT — ‘Twas a night to remember. A night where the Prescott-Flagstaff football game on Friday was a homecoming in more ways than one.
After Bill Shepard Field finished its $2.5 million renovation this week, the Badgers returned to their historic home venue after playing two games at Ken Lindley Field. And boy, did they do it in style as the Badgers ran rampant in a 48-7 region-opening blowout of Flagstaff on homecoming night.
“[Bill Shepard] is always a special place. I always love playing here. It means a lot to the community and this place means a lot to me,” said Prescott head coach Cody Collett. “It was a good win for us tonight, definitely. We got a lot of room to improve, obviously. We had a lot of turnovers that we need to clean up but our passing game is starting to get going. Our run game was efficient tonight and our defense was stifling, phenomenal, honestly.”
On top of having big-game jitters, getting accustomed to the brand new field seemed to weigh on the Badgers early on. Both they and the Eagles committed a slew of turnovers but the Badgers still pulled out in front first when QB Dellinger Boyd nailed a 26-yard connection to Trey Koehler for the touchdown.
Prescott would go on to miss the ensuing field goal and then turnover the ball a few plays later because of a fumble on their own five-yard line. However, they quickly redeemed themselves by playing great defense to set up Nathan Wright for a big-time blocked field goal.
The very next play, Boyd was officially in his bag as he whipped a 45-yarder to Cooper Wells for the Badgers’ second touchdown of the night. From here on out, Prescott seized full control of the game even if Flagstaff managed to get one in thanks to an out-of-this-world 62-yard TD pass from QB Joe Weidinger.
Prescott’s defense continued to wreak a havoc on the Eagles’ offense. Aaron Greene and Sam Giordan were two of the main catalysts in the team’s defensive efforts, which opened many opportunities for Boyd, Sylas Espitia and the rest of the offense. Giordan, however, arguably made the biggest play of the game when he blocked a punt in the third quarter and chased the ball all the way into the end zone, giving the Badgers a 34-7 lead.
“I noticed on their punt that they were lining up pretty tight instead of their usual split-wide form. So I came off the left edge and just went in 100% and came out with a blocked punt and the touchdown,” Giordan said.
Heading into the fourth quarter, the Badgers refused to lift their foot off the gas and poured it on with two more touchdowns. This was more than enough to not only earn Prescott its first Grand Canyon win, but bring their overall record over .500 at 3-2.
Notably, Boyd threw three TDs on the night despite coming into Friday’s game having only thrown four in four games.
The brief but special homecoming festivities took place during halftime and interestingly enough, Koehler, who was an integral part in the Badgers’ win, was named king. Camryn McKelvey was named the homecoming queen.
Prescott will have a bye week next Friday, Sept. 27, but will return to action for a daunting match-up against Coconino (4-0, 1-0 Grand Canyon) on the road Friday, Oct. 4. In Collett’s tenure at the Badgers’ helm, he has never had a bye week.
The Power Point rankings will be released Tuesday, Oct. 1., and Prescott has a good chance of being ranked within the Top 20.
“The thing is that I don’t think we’re even close to clicking on all cylinders,” Collett said. “I think we can still get there and I think this is a critical week in terms of getting back to the fundamentals … It’s important that we have this bye week because Coconino is one of the most difficult teams to prepare for.”
Aaron Valdez is a sports reporter for The Daily Courier of Prescott News Network. Follow him on Twitter at @Valaaron_94. Email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 928-445-3333, ext. 2031.