Citizen Staff Writer
RAYMOND SUAREZ and GEOFF GRAMMER
Sabino High School posted the comeback of the night, scoring 21 fourth-quarter points to spoil host-Nogales’ upset bid.
Trailing after three quarters 27-14, the Sabercats returned to Tucson with a come-from-behind 35-33 win to improve to 6-1 overall and 2-0 in Class 4A Kino Region play.
Leading the charge for Sabino was senior running back Scott Brown, who rushed for 109 yards and scored all five touchdowns.
Sabino rushed for 246 yards.
Nogales senior running back Andy Garcia, who entered the game with 1,034 rushing yards and 21 touchdowns, was held to minus-9 yards rushing.
“We focused on stopping Andy,” Sabino coach Jay Campos said. “They tried it early on and we physically pounded them. They abandoned it by the third quarter.
“They had a lot of success throwing the ball and they stayed with it.”
Sabino’s defense held Nogales to zero rushing yards, but Nogales quarterback Keith Zuniga threw for 378 yards.
Apaches receiver Camilo Villegas caught six passes for 240 yards and four touchdowns.
“We never backed down,” Campos said.
“From a playoff standpoint, this was big for us. We had some things go against us, but we persevered.”
Sabino held a 35-27 lead when Nogales took its final shot. Zuniga hit Villegas for a 26-yard touchdown, pulling the Apaches within 35-33 with 28 seconds left.
The 2-point conversion try failed.
Sabino has another tough task ahead next week when it plays at Cienega in a game likely to determine the champion of the 4A Kino Region.
Nogales will play at Flowing Wells.
Sahuarita improved to 5-1 overall and 2-2 in the 4A Gila Region with a blowout road win at Douglas.
Sahuarita hosts Pueblo next week.
The Bulldogs dropped to 2-5 overall and 1-2 in the Gila Region and don’t get any breaks next week as they travel to region leader Santa Rita next week.
It took a quarter and a half for the Empire Ravens to shake off the cobwebs from last week’s home loss to Coolidge, the team’s first loss of the season.
But once they did, the Ravens were again dominant, improving to 7-1 and 4-1 in the 3A South with a 37-14 home win over Florence.
“There was about seven minutes left in the second quarter and they were up 7-0 when McKenzie Bauer forced a big fumble,” said Empire coach Jorge Mendivil.
“We got the ball and went down and scored and then things started getting back to normal. We were clicking on all cylinders then and we got the running game going from there.”
The run game was again the strength for Empire, racking up 384 yards behind the two-back attack of Albert Casella (223 yards, two touchdowns) and Cody Woody (128 yards, one touchdown).
Included in a 27-point second quarter for Empire were touchdown runs of 80 and 69 yards.
Empire plays at Fountain Hills next week.
Fountain Hills was a 31-13 winner at Coolidge on Friday night. Coolidge defeated Empire last week.
“It will be a tough one, we know that,” Mendivil said.
Pusch Ridge 36,
The Lions got another strong defensive effort and used a power rushing attack to improve to 5-0 in the 2A South Region with an easy 36-6 road win at Miami.
Quarterback Greg Schimke had an impressive game, completing 10 of 14 passes for 127 yards and one touchdown to go with 75 yards on eight carries and one rushing touchdown.
“It was another total team effort,” said Pusch Ridge coach Bob Vance.
The coach said middle linebackers Matt Baquet and David Bergeron had strong games. The pair benefit greatly from the play up front of nose tackle Daniel Simmons, who often demands double teams from opposing offensive linemen.
If Pusch Ridge (5-2, 5-0) beats Kearney Ray on the road next week, it will earn at least a share of the 2A South Region title.
Gilbert coach ties state’s
all-time wins mark
With a 37-0 win over Gilbert Mesquite, Gilbert High head football coach Jesse Parker tied Karl Kiefer on Friday as the winningest coach in Arizona high school football history.
The two have each won 308 games while coaching Arizona schools.
Gilbert plays Gilbert Highland next week.
Amphi’s Vern Friedli has 306 career coaching victories.
Amphi has three more regular season games this season. The Panthers host Rio Rico next week, play at Sahuarita on Oct. 31 and host Douglas on Nov. 7.
The Arizona Republic