The Mingus Union High School football team got all it could handle and more from No. 11 Greenway High School in the first round of the 4A-II conference state playoffs Friday, Nov. 12.
Although the Demons almost pulled the upset card on Marauders fans in Cottonwood, No. 6 Mingus was able to keep its composure and come away with a close 28-21 victory, advancing to the second round.
The victory improves Mingus’ record to 9-2 overall this season. The Marauders will face an old rival in No. 3 Notre Dame Preparatory Academy in the quarterfinals Friday, Nov. 19.
Notre Dame easily defeated No. 14 Douglas in its first round game Friday, 51-6.
Longtime Mingus Head Coach Bob Young was pleased with the victory and how well his boys played.
“The guys fought their tails off tonight,” Young said after taking a picture with all his seniors at midfield after the game Friday. “Greenway is a great team and we knew they were going to be tough so I’m glad we were able to put some things together.”
With the game tied 21-21 with 22 seconds to go and Mingus on Greenway’s 2-yard line, Young called a timeout and a special play for senior Kevin Webb.
Quarterback Ronald Morones optioned to the outside and pitched the ball into the waiting hands of Webb, who carried it the remaining two yards for a touchdown.
When asked if he thought about sneaking it across the goal line, Young nodded his head.
“We thought about setting that play up with Kevin [Webb’s] sweep to the outside. We thought it would give us two good chances to score. If he didn’t get it, we were probably going to sneak it in ... or at least try to,” Young said.
Greenway stacked every big player they had on the nose of the football on the play, however, causing Young to call the outside sweep for his playmaker Webb.
The play worked, of course, and the rest is history.
Standouts offensively included Morones, who completed 10 of 15 passes for 87 yards and two touchdowns, hooking up with fellow senior teammate Carson Sandoval both times.
Webb had 12 carries for 38 yards and the last-second touchdown while recording five catches for 28 yards.
Mingus had only 110 yards on the ground Friday, and less than 200 yards all together, but according to Young, he couldn’t care less.
“Sometimes you have to win a game like this. Even though it was 28-21, both teams played decent defense and good special teams,” Young said.
Mingus punter Logan Couch was just as important as the defense or offense Friday with five punts averaging 42 yards and he placed three inside the 20-yard line. The accurate punting forced Greenway to go the length of the field more than they wanted to, making the Mingus defense that much easier.
With Greenway out of the way, Mingus turns its attention to rival Notre Dame. Usually the two rivals have met up in the state finals in the past, but this year, the two teams meet just a little earlier.
“Notre Dame is going to be very good; we’ll have to play well,” Young said.
Notre Dame will host the second-round game Friday night with a kickoff scheduled for 7 p.m.