Citizen Staff Writer
CAMP VERDE 23 PUSCH RIDGE 13
Pusch Ridge Christian Academy’s season ended Friday night as its defense yielded.
The Lions (7-3) gave up 425 yards in a 23-13 loss to visiting Camp Verde in the first round of the Class 2A state playoffs.
“They are a tough team,” said Pusch Ridge coach Bob Vance. “They were big and strong and they came to hit.”
Pusch Ridge had allowed only 15 total points in its last seven games. The Lions went 7-0 in 2-A South Region but 0-3 out of conference.
Two bombs from quarterback Mikey Boler to Richie Watson, the first the game’s initial score, proved to be the knife that cut Pusch Ridge’s proud defense.
No excuses for Pusch Ridge but it might have fared better had pint-sized and prized cornerback Tyler Vance not been hurt on a crunching hit late in the first quarter on his only carry as a running back. Camp Verde immediately began to exploit his absence.
“They went where he would have been,” Vance said.
Pusch Ridge gave itself hope on its opening drive of the second half, going 65 yards, ending on a 5-yard Brett Overstreet run up the middle. That made it 14-7 Camp Verde.
Camp Verde iced it early in the fourth on a 13-yard scoring run.
Pusch Ridge was game, however, scoring on the best play of the night, a 21-yard touchdown pass to an all-alone Dawson Jones for the final margin.
Insult was avoided at the end with Camp Verde on the Pusch Ridge 1-yard line.
“So many bright spots this year,” Vance said. “We had some new guys, seniors who hadn’t played football and some quality juniors.
“We laughed, had fun and competed. But tonight, they just wore us down.”