Redemption sweet in Aztecs’ opening upset rout of Desert Vista
It was sweet redemption for Corona del Sol High’s football team in its long-awaited season opener, when it not only upset Desert Vista but shut out the Thunder, 28-0, on Oct. 2. The Aztecs had dropped a hard-fought 29-22 game to Desert Vista last season.
The only disappointment was that few people got to see the Aztecs’ jaw-dropping turnaround for only their third win over their cross-district rival in 10 years. Attendance limits were imposed as a precaution against COVID-19.
The Aztecs played punishing defense from the Thunder’s first snap, stuffing the running game and sacking the quarterback five times.
Corona unveiled an effective running game of its own, with backs Anyale Velazquez and Scott Musgraves moving the ball behind a stout line.
Velazquez rushed for 136 yards (6.2-yard average), numbers similar to former Aztec and now Arizona State running back Ricky Pearsall. Musgraves gained 18 yards on six carries.
That set up the passing game for senior quarterback Quade Swearingen in Corona’s balanced offense, which rushed for 179 yards and passed for 171.
In the second quarter, special teams joined the party when Tudor Georgescu blocked a punt, giving the Aztecs the ball on Desert Vista’s 15-yard line. That set up a scoring run by Swearingen on the first play. Sophomore kicker Carston Kieffer added the extra point.
Later in the second quarter, senior Bryce Douglass made back-to-back receptions in a drive that gave Corona a 14-0 halftime lead.
Senior Mitchell Coakley and senior Talon Williams each caught a touchdown pass in the second half as Corona pulled away.
Senior Jake Schmitt led the Aztecs with five solo and three assisted tackles, one of them for a loss. Georgescu added five solo and one assisted tackle, one for a loss, and a sack. Junior defensive lineman Theren White made two solo and three assisted tackles and a sack. Senior Colton Mealer was credited with 1.5 sacks and four total tackles. Juniors Jeff Lambert and Nate Cormier-Ward each had four tackles and junior Elijah Sayer contributed a sack.
The Aztecs take on Basha (0-1) on Oct. 9 at 7 p.m.
Padres’ 2-point try thwarted in heartbreaking OT loss at Coconino
Marcos de Niza wanted to have something positive to show for its long ride to Flagstaff, so in overtime the Padres went for a two-point conversion to win their season-opening game rather than attempting a kick to tie it and send it into a second overtime. The try was stopped short of the goal line and Marcos fell to Coconino, 29-28.
The Padres were up 14-8 at the half but the Panthers fought back to tie it at 22 at the end of regulation.
Coconino scored first in overtime and kicked the conversion for a seven-point lead. Marcos scored on its possession to pull within one, setting up the unsuccessful two-point try for the win.
Marcos senior running back Jayden Calderon rushed for 133 yards on 22 carries and senior Jacob Irick gained 50 yards. Each rushed for a touchdown.
Senior quarterback Antonio Hernandez completed five of nine passes for 96 yards and two touchdowns. One of the scoring receptions was by senior Nico Updyke (three catches, 85 yards), the other by junior Jamir Smith.
Irick, and sophomore Mason Stromstad shared the team lead with eight tackles. Junior Isaiah Williams added seven tackles and two quarterback sacks. Irick and Stromstad each recovered a fumble.
The Padres play Benjamin Franklin (1-0) on Oct. 9 in a pay-per-view live-streamed game on nfhsnetwork.com.