Despite allowing a first-quarter touchdown, the Marauders defense held strong Friday, Sept. 17, defeating visiting Bradshaw Mountain High School, 12-7.
“We were concerned if it turned into a shoot-out we might be in trouble, but our defense stepped up and did a good job,” Mingus Union High School Head Coach Bob Young said.
Bradshaw Mountain, rated No. 4 in the state in the 4A-I conference, took an early 7-0 lead in the first quarter but two field goals by Mingus kicker Andrew Hickey brought the Marauders within one going into halftime, 7-6.
“I’m not a field goal kind of’ guy but they helped us out in this game,” Young said laughing.
Hickey missed two others in the game but the 30-yard field goal in the first quarter to make it 7-3, and later 7-6, was better than getting no points at all according to Young.
The defensive struggle continued into the second half until newly anointed Mingus starting quarterback Ronald Morones found senior wide receiver Eric Quessada streaking down the middle of the field for a 48-yard touchdown pass.
The touchdown throw gave Mingus a slim 12-7 lead which stayed the same after extra-point specialist Bri Nevitt missed the try.
Knowing full well Bradshaw Mountain quarterback Tyler Audsley could strike at any time, Mingus held Bradshaw Mountain to 179 yards of total offense in the game, including a final stand with less than a minute to go to seal the game.
With senior quarterback Nick Alred lost for the season due to a serious leg injury, Morones did an admirable job completing 12 of 14 passes for 145 yards and a touchdown.
The inexperience showed during a few plays Friday night with a few players running one direction, and Morones running another, causing him to have five carries for negative-25 yards on the night and one sack.
“I thought Ronald [Morones] handled the game well. Nick [Alred] gave us that balance with the run and the pass and with Ronald being the new guy, Bradshaw Mountain could key in on a few players,” Young said.
Bradshaw Mountain did exactly that, doing an especially good job stopping the run by allowing Mingus to get only 78 yards of offense out of the run game.
Generally, the Marauders are in the 200-plus range with yards gained by the run but not against the Bears.
In the end, the Marauders earned the victory and improved to 3-0 [0-0, 4A-II Grand Canyon] overall on the season.
With the win, Mingus is currently ranked No. 3 in the Arizona Interscholastic Association power point polls, which were released Tuesday, Sept. 21.
Next up, the Marauders will hit the road Friday, Sept. 24, and face Apache Junction High School. Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m.
The next Mingus home game is scheduled for Friday, Oct. 1, against Paradise Valley High School with a start time of 7 p.m.