Citizen Staff Writer
AMPHI 55 RIO RICO 6 HS FOOTBALL
Amphi, coming off close losses the past two weeks, dominated on both sides of the ball Friday to give its coach win No. 307.
Vern Friedli, third all time in state wins, saw his team pile up 401 yards on the ground – 267 in the first half – in a 55-6 win over visiting Rio Rico in the Class 4A Gila Region.
Chris Johnson scored on his first carry, a 54-yard run on Amphi’s second play from scrimmage, then added a 7-yard touchdown run on his third carry to put the Panthers up 14-0.
“We came out really well and executed,” said Johnson, who had 98 yards on nine carries.
Amphi (4-4, 2-2) kept its playoff hopes alive as the defense kept constant pressure on Rio Rico quarterback Steve Moralles. The defense forced five fumbles and seven three-and-outs.
“We were upset that we lost to Palo Verde and Santa Rita (the past two weeks),” inside linebacker Ron Huff said. “We wanted to prove that we are a playoff contender. It was a make-or-break game and (we) wanted to show that Amphi’s back and we’re ready to go.”
Rio Rico (0-9, 0-5) didn’t have a first down until Moralles had an 11-yard run early in the fourth quarter.
The drive was capped when Moralles connected with Chris Hernandez on a 45-yard touchdown pass.
Amphi, which entered the night 11th in the state power rankings, travels to Sahuarita next week.
“It’s going to be a tough game,” Friedli said. “(Sahuarita) is a very talented team. It’s just going to be a fight.”