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For AZtecs, third time's a charm

By: Chris Kamper

September 15, 2007

Our Aztecs needed a big win. After opening the season with two tough losses to two highly ranked teams, our Aztecs rolled into Tucson with something to prove. When this night was over, they rolled out of the “Old Pueblo” with a dominating 51-0 over the overmatched Tucson Badgers. The Badgers made it a game for the first quarter, but after that, it was all Aztecs.

     The game opened with defensive stops by both teams. However, on the Aztec punt, the Badgers made their deepest foray of the evening into Aztec territory with a 59- yard punt return to the Aztec 20 yard line. The Aztec defensive responded, forcing a 36- yard field goal attempt that was blocked by Lucas Starkey.

The Aztec offense took over at their own 25 yard line and proceeded to march down the field. The effective drive was capped by JR Hamm’s 18 yard TD run and the Aztecs were on the board first, 7-0, at the 3:38 mark of the first quarter. After a quick “three and out,” the Aztec offense regained possession and was marching down the field when the first quarter came to an end.

     The Aztecs owned the second quarter. The Aztecs continued their march down the field at the start of the quarter. At the 10:05 mark, JR Hamm ran two yards for his second TD of the night. Kirby Pellant successfully converted a two point conversion on a fake kick and run to put the Aztecs in the lead, 15-0.

After a quick Aztec defensive stop, the Aztec offense regained possession. Fullback Kyle Schmella then broke off the longest Aztec run of the season, bolting 64 yards for a TD, outrunning the pursuing Badgers and extending the Aztec lead to 22-0 at the 6:23 mark. After forcing another quick “three and out” deep in Badger territory, JR Hamm scampered 34 yards for his third TD of the night and the Aztecs led, 29-0. The Aztecs took this big lead to the half time locker room after Eric Benson intercepted a Badger pass to close out the quarter.

  The Aztecs left no doubt early in the third quarter. The Aztecs received the third quarter kickoff and marched to the Badger one yard line, but fumbled the ball to the Badgers. On the next play, the Aztec defense tackled the Badger QB in the end zone for a safety and a 31-0 Aztec lead. After receiving the Badger kickoff, JR Hamm ran 38 yards for his fourth TD of the night, extending the Aztec lead to 38-0 with 9:15 left in the quarter. After the Aztec kickoff, Lucas Starkey intercepted a badger pass and converted it into a 40 yard return for a TD and a 44-0 Aztec lead. After the swarming Aztec defense stopped the Badger offense once again deep in Badger territory, the Aztecs scored for the last time at the 2:24 mark of the third quarter on a three yard plunge by Michael Lange and PAT by David Oleson. Michael Lange intercepted a Badger pass to mercifully close out the third quarter.

     A host of Aztecs contributed in the fourth quarter with highlights by Kyle Benson’s third sack of the night and Brendon Tunstall’s interception. The following Aztecs held the Badgers scoreless in the final quarter, ensuring the Aztec shutout victory: Jason Perales, Gregory Brandon, Charles Gayton, Zach Sitton, Skyler Fish, Justin Muilenberg, Scott Minchuk, Sam Douthitt, Carlos Hernandez, Alec Tripp, Ryan Joseph and Derek Maisel.

     The Aztecs statistically dominated this game, led by JR Hamm’s rushing for 194 yards on 16 carries and four TDs. Kyle Schmella rushed for 77 yards on 2 carries and a TD. Michael Lange had 2 carries for 11 yards and a TD. QB Chase Cartwright completed 7 of 9 passes for 144 yards. Leading receivers were Eric Benson with 3 receptions for 65 yards, JR Hamm with 2 catches for 52 yards, and Joey Kamper with 2 catches for 26 yards.

     This balmy Tucson night belonged to the Tempe Corona del Sol Aztecs. The team seems to have gained added momentum as we head into next week’s Homecoming game against the 1-1 Mesquite Wildcats, who are coming off a tough 18-6 loss to the undefeated Westwood Warriors. However, based on this near flawless performance in Tucson, the Aztecs appear to be ready.

     Go Aztecs! Next game: Friday, Sept. 14, 7 p.m., at  Cds vs. Mesquite Wildcats.

— Chris Kamper is a Corona del Sol parent and local attorney who has served as volunteer game reporter for the past three years. He notes that his goal with the column is to recognize as many players as possible and that, while he tries to keep stats during the games, they cannot be considered official game stats.



Photo by Kris Cartwright


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