The grim reality of how tough the game of football is sank in quickly Friday, Sept, 10, despite all the glitz and glamour of a new turf field and a big Marauders victory over Payson High School.
Senior quarterback Nick Alred, who suffered a severe injury to his leg during the second play of the third quarter Friday, had season-ending surgery the morning of Saturday, Sept. 11, to repair a dislocated ankle, fractured fibula and two torn ligaments.
“He’s in a lot of pain right now. Anytime something happens like this you just hold your breath [hoping] it isn’t serious but this time, it was,” longtime Mingus Head Coach Bob Young said.
The Mingus Union High School football team had taken a 19-6 lead going into halftime but the shock of its senior leader getting hurt only a few minutes into the second half had an effect on the players’ concentration.
Mingus failed to score in the third quarter and led 19-12 going into the fourth but two touchdowns by the Marauders in the final period put the game away, 33-12.
With the victory, Mingus improves its record to 2-0 [0-0, 4A-II Grand Canyon] overall on the season.
Taking the place of Alred in the second half of the Payson game, senior Ronald Morones worked on his handoff game most of the second half as he passed the ball only two times, going 0-2.
The Mingus ground game wasn’t half bad against the 3A conference powerhouse Longhorns, rushing 55 times for 312 yards and four touchdowns.
Senior Juan Gonzalez led all Mingus running backs with 15 carries for 123 yards and one touchdown while Kevin Webb had 14 carries for 71 yards and a touchdown.
“We ran the ball real well. Juan [Gonzalez] ran off tackle most of the game and we were successful with it,” Young said.
Defensively for Mingus, the Marauders held the high-powered Payson offense to only 12 points while recording three sacks and two interceptions.
Gonzalez and Nate Westcott each had a sack while Carson Sandoval and Cruz Chavez each had an interception. Westcott also led the team in tackles with 10.
As for the quarterback situation, Young announced Morones would get the start this week when the Marauders play host to Bradshaw Mountain High School on Friday, Sept. 17.
“Ronald [Morones] has been Alred’s back up for four years now. He’s going to have to step up and make plays. It’s his time,” Young said.
Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m.