|Photo by David Stone
Corona football coaches and players are reluctant to talk about the future, especially the state playoff future, except to say that they are taking their season one step at a time.
Aztec defensive players also turned up the heat in the Cibola game. Tyler Giannonatti had nine tackles while Stitt and Zeric Butters had eight apiece. Ryan Nolan and Altheide had seven tackles each while junior Zach Jubie had a break-out game with five tackles. Vince Bonanno, Butters and Luke Macchiaroli each took a turn sacking Cibola’s quarterback while Grant Walton and Derek Maisel both had interceptions.
It appears, though, that it’s not necessary for the Aztecs to talk about their football team because everyone else is. In the last two games alone, the Aztecs have outscored their opponents 113 points to 3.
The Aztecs took step number five on Sept. 26 when they outplayed and outscored Yuma Cibola 57-3.
One sportscaster said Corona “smashed” host Cibola. Another said Cibola was “crushed” by Corona. Yet a third said Corona “rolled over” Cibola. Even Cibola’s Coach Arvizo said after the game:
“Obviously, (Corona is) a great team. Offensively and defensively they executed and executed, and they just did a great job.”
And execute is exactly what the Aztecs did.
After Cibola stopped the Aztecs on their first drive with a goal line stance at fourth and five, No. 1 Corona put the ball in the end zone on eight of its next nine drives. Kyle Benson scored in the first quarter on a 3-yard pass from starting quarterback Chase Cartwright. In the second quarter, the Aztecs scored two rushing touchdowns, both from nine yards out. Michael Lange scored one and Cartwright ran in the other.
Senior Grant Walton then scored a two-point conversion on a pass from kicker Kirby Pellant, who had also made the point-after kicks on the previous two touchdowns. Cibola was able to score its only points in the game on a 48-yard field goal just before the half, resulting in a 22-3 halftime score.
Corona came out of the locker room just as focused as it was in the first half to score 21 points in the third quarter.
The Aztec’s second-leading scorer, Michael Lange, went right to work, scoring a TD on the Aztecs’ first drive of the second half. Evan Altheide, Corona’s leading rusher in the Cibola game, ran for a 64-yard touchdown halfway through the third quarter. Junior running back No. 44 Alan Stitt scored his first touchdown of the season by driving the ball in from six yards out late in the third quarter.
Pellant made the point after on the first touchdown while kicker Jackson Allen made the point after kicks on the second two touchdowns with the Aztecs ending the third quarter up 43 to 3.
In the final quarter, senior running back Zachary Sitton scored his second touchdown of the year on a 70-yard run into the end zone on his only carry of the game. Junior Austin Crothers then punched the ball across the goal line from six yards out to get his first touchdown this season.
Allen was successful in both point-after kicks, ending the game with a final score of 57-3.
Altogether, Corona scored eight touchdowns against Cibola using seven different players. But these seven didn’t do it alone. The Aztecs were able to move the ball on offense with the help of No. 13 senior Brandon Stern, who caught three passes for 39 yards and Stitt, who had one long 54-yard catch to set up another CdS score.
On Oct. 3, Corona took another step closer to the playoffs by, as one sportscaster reported, “creaming” Trevor Browne 56-0.
Another said Browne was “routed” by Corona. Regardless of who is reporting the results, the Aztecs continue to let their play on the field speak for itself.
During the first quarter against Browne, Corona scored three touchdowns, one from Lange and two from Brendon Tunstall. Lange took the ball 20 yards to score the first touchdown. Tunstall caught a 47-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Cartwright. Then Tunstall ran 22 yards for another touchdown in the first eight minutes of the game. Pellant made all three point-after kicks to make the score 21-0 at the end of the first quarter.
The Aztecs also scored three touchdowns in the second quarter, all on the ground.
Cartwright ran in the first one from one yard out, then Stitt punched the ball across the goal line from the 10-yard line. Sitton made a nice six-yard run into the end zone for the 41st point scored in the first half. Pellant made all three point-after kicks, putting the Aztecs up 42 to 0.
During the second half, senior No. 30 Cody Dana scored two rushing touchdowns on eight carries for a total of 57 yards. Jackson Allen made both point-after attempts and the Aztecs left the field winning their sixth game in a row 56-0.
Several Aztec players on offense have had first-rate outings this season, including No. 44 Alan Stitt who has been credited with 12 touchdowns and is one of the leading scorers along with Michael Lange, who has 10 touchdowns.
Lange is also the team’s leading rusher, averaging over 126 yards a game. Altogether, the Aztecs have scored 272 points in six games where 16—yes, 16—players have scored 48 touchdowns. Pellen, Allan and Dana have successfully scored on 32 point-after kicks, while Walton and Benson each scored two points on conversions. Pellant had two field goals for six points, and Maizel scored two points on a safety.
Corona also had several exceptional plays on defense including the tackling by Tyler Giannonatti, who averages 10 tackles a game, Evan Althiede at 9.4 tackles at game, Kyle Benson at 6.3 and Todd Peat averaging 5.8 tackles a game. Vince Bonanno is the Aztecs sack leader at 3.5 sacks total.
The Aztecs had a bye Oct. 10, giving them an extra week to prepare for their matchup at Chandler on Oct. 17.
Chandler, currently 4-1, appears on paper to be a team that may give Corona more of a game than the Aztecs have seen so far this season. Step seven may prove to be a bit harder than the previous six outings, but if the Aztecs can continue focusing on one down at a time and keep their defensive speed and toughness, they will be hard to beat.
To find out more about Aztec football, including schedules and results, go to Corona’s athletic website at http://www.aztecathletics.com/ or the football booster club website at http://www.eteamz.com/cdsfootball/.