The Mingus Union High School football team’s defense earned its second straight shutout Friday, Sept. 23, as the Marauders rolled over visiting Cortez High School, 35-0.
Offensively, the Marauders have been stellar in their last two games, but the defense is stealing the spotlight, allowing no points and creating several turnovers while scoring when it has the chance.
Longtime Mingus Head Coach Bob Young said he was disappointed with his defense during the first few weeks of the season, but in the last two games, they have started to come together.
“The defense looked good. That’s what we’re looking for out of them. They did a nice job,” Young said.
With the victory, the Marauders finally get over the .500 mark with a 3-2 record. It is the third straight win for the Marauders. Mingus is ranked No. 9 in the Division IV Interscholastic Association power point polls, which were released Monday, Sept. 26.
Cortez is one of the worst football teams in Division IV, and the loss Friday to Mingus only lengthened the Colts’ misery.
Cortez is 0-5 this season, having given up 226 points to its five opponents while scoring only 22 as the Mingus defense handed Cortez its third shutout of the year.
Marauders fans seemed a little worried when Mingus only took a 21-0 lead into the locker room at halftime against one of the worst teams in their division, but two quick scores in the third quarter put them at ease.
“Cortez played better than they have before; they didn’t turn the ball over. We turned it over three times before going in to score, otherwise the score might have been worse,” Young said.
Junior tailback Tyler Herndon carried the load for Mingus on Friday with 13 carries for 225 yards and three touchdowns. Mingus had only 237 yards of total offense.
“Tyler [Herndon] is a nice player to have. He’s similar to Carlos Abrigo; he just doesn’t have the experience,” Young said.
Herndon replaced senior standout Abrigo who injured his ankle in the first quarter of play and did not return.
Cortez had no problems moving the ball up and down the field on Mingus with 341 yards of total offense, but the Colts couldn’t finish when it mattered most.
Junior quarterback Auston Sherrill was 17 of 33 for 219 yards while sophomore running back Alex Smith had 11 carries for 61 yards.
Defensively for Mingus, senior Jordan Westover recorded an interception while senior James Bennett and sophomore Brennan Kitchen each had a sack.
The Marauders have outscored their last two opponents 89-0 and they will look to continue their winning ways Friday, Sept. 30, when Mingus plays host to Coconino High School.
Coconino is an old 4A-II Grand Canyon region rival but now sits in Division III. The Panthers are 2-3 overall this season and are ranked No. 23 in the Division III polls.
The Panthers’ only two wins this season came against Page High School [55-7] on Aug. 25 and Kingman High School [40-21] on Sept. 9.
Coconino could give the Marauders a run for their money Friday and may still wind up in the state playoffs with a light schedule to end the season after the Mingus road trip.
The Panthers play Tuba City, Winslow, Chino Valley and Flagstaff high schools in the last four games of the season, which are all winnable for Coconino.
As for Abrigo, Young said the senior is receiving treatment for his ankle this week, but he expects him to play Friday against the Panthers.
Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m.