Mingus Union High School’s football team had a two-game winning streak going into its homecoming game against winless Bradshaw Mountain High School.
The visiting Bears [1-5, 1-1], the only team to defeat the Marauders [2-4, 2-1] in Grand Canyon Region play last season, ended that streak in a 45-16 rout.
“They beat our butts,” Marauders head coach Bob Young said. “I don’t care about records, they just beat us on the line of scrimmage.”
Down 24-8 with seconds remaining in the first half, Mingus senior defensive back Martin Soria blocked a field goal attempt and almost returned it for a score. The Marauders did not convert the turnover into points.
Junior wide receiver Chaz Taylor had the only touchdown of the first half, coming on a 54-yard pass from senior running back Tyler Kelly.
Coming out of halftime, the Bears immediately forced a turnover into a score.
Kelly fumbled the ball at his own eight yard line, which the Bears scooped up and scored to open a 31-8 advantage not two minutes in.
The deficit grew further on the Bears’ next possession, when senior quarterback Timmy Young carried it three yards to score, making it 38-8 with 3:40 left.
An unsportsmanlike conduct flag after the Bears’ score created a short field situation for the Marauders.
It took just six plays and a little over a minute and a half to march 49 yards, capped by a Taylor touchdown catch from eight yards, this time from junior quarterback Antoine Zabala.
The ensuing onside kick attempt was recovered by Mingus, but five plays later turned it over on downs. The drive stalled on a sack and a penalty.
“We just got the motivation. We stepped up and then we got a penalty and everybody got down. We didn’t keep our heads up and I just don’t think we played like a team tonight,” senior linebacker Kendrew Streck said.
But it was all the Marauders could muster. Meanwhile, the Bears dominated on both sides of the ball throughout.
Both Streck and Young agreed that Bradshaw Mountain did not do anything the Marauders had not prepared for heading into the game.
“They didn’t do anything to surprise us; we just couldn’t stop it. We practiced all week and we just looked like we didn’t know what we were doing.” Streck said.
The Bears consistently ran the ball up the middle while suffocating the Mingus run game.
Junior running back Alex Nelson, a beneficiary of opponents’ focus on stopping Kelly, had run for 178 and 129 yards, respectively, during the Marauders two-game win streak. Against Bradshaw Mountain he had 20.
“They just dominated the line of scrimmage,” Young said. “We couldn’t stop the run, we couldn’t run the ball. If we cant do that then we’re not going to be successful. So they manhandled us on both sides of the ball.”
The game was best encapsulated by the Bears’ last touchdown. Young connected with senior wide receiver Bryan Price, who caught the ball about 30 yards down field. Mingus senior safety Jordan Huey tried to hit Price standing up to knock him over as he caught the ball.
But Price bounced right off the final defender and scampered the final 30 yards untouched.
It was Soria’s first game of the season after sitting out five games because of his transfer from 1A Williams High School. It was also his first field goal block, but acknowledged that he should have found the end zone also.
“I’m ready to go, I know this was a rough game for me, but best believe next game I’m coming,” Soria said.
Third-place Mingus travels to second-place Prescott High School for a matchup at 7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 6.