By Kody Acevedo
The Padres are making some noise once again in 2016.
Coming off a loss in the Division II State Championship game last year and under the direction of a new head coach, Marcos de Niza needed a strong start to the season to prove they’re up for the challenge. So far, their response has been dominant.
After starting the season 2-0 in back-to-back home victories, the Padres (3-0) hit the road Sept. 9 for the first time to take on the Peoria Panthers (2-1).
It was all Padres from start to finish, and Marcos de Niza trotted off with a 35-0 victory over Peoria.
Their efforts were led by senior quarterback Nazareth Greer, who completed 27 of 38 passes for 313 yards, including three touchdown passes.
“He’s very consistent,” Marcos coach Paul Moro said. “He’s one of the best quarterbacks, if not the best quarterback (in the state), and we had some really good receivers.”
The Padres got things going early in the first when Greer threw a 60-yard touchdown pass to senior wide receiver Marcus Naisant, who caught the ball in the end zone. A successful two-point conversion followed to make it 8-0 just 16 seconds into the game.
Marcos de Niza never looked back. It was 29-0 going into the half.
“Our guys did a good job,” Moro said. “We were very solid in almost every phase of the game. In the second-half we let a whole bunch of guys get in who hadn’t got to play in the first couple of games get in… it was a good victory for us.”
Moro said the Padres decided to run the clock more in the second half as guys were rotated in-and-out off the bench. The Padres scored only once more in the second half.
Their lone second half touchdown came with 8:08 left in the third quarter when senior running back Zyayre Moss ran the ball 7 yards into the end zone to make it 35-0 after a failed two-point conversion.
It was Moss’ second touchdown of the night. He carried the ball 12 times for 118 yards and has six touchdowns on season after the Peoria victory.
“Peoria gave us a good game; we just out worked them,” Moss said.
Greer and Moss had a strong flow going throughout the course of the night.
“We just really connected—we communicated a lot,” Moss said. “I told him that I want to be one of the best backfields in the state, so we just come out here and work. We give it all we got every night.”
The loss for Peoria last week was their first of the season. It also marked the first time they have been shut out since 2011, when they lost 31-0 to Cactus High School.
Junior quarterback Nate Dobson finished the night completing 7 of 35 passes for 159 yards.
“We expected (Peoria) to blitz a lot and play real physical and we thought that was the case…we just had a lot of weapons,” Moro said.
Up next, Marcos de Niza is back on the road to face the Bradshaw Mountain Bears in Prescott Valley.
Despite the strong start, Moro said he sees room for improvement in his team.
“We’re evolving all the time,” Moro said. “We’ve got to get better at every phase of the game.”