Bullish Queen Creek Handles Mountain View

2 months ago Andrew Luberda 2

The Queen Creek football players were well aware last Friday’s game versus Mesa Mountain View was not just another game. The Bulldogs were determined to let those on the Toros’ sidelines know that head coach Travis Schureman and offensive coordinator Joe Germaine, who won a state title as Toros in 1993, are Bulldogs now.

Senior quarterback Devin Larsen threw for four touchdowns and the Queen Creek defense had three interceptions in the Bulldogs’ 53 – 22 victory. The Bulldogs totaled more than 550 yards of offense, including 275 passing and a season-high 288 rushing.

“I thought it was a good night; we definitely got our running game going,” Queen Creek senior center Dakota Banning said afterwards. “Shout out to Dylan (Borja), Jace (Bond) and Dayson (Coleman). They all did really well hitting the holes (the offensive line) made. It was a great job up front with all my guys, creating those holes. It was a great night.”

Senior Jett Koester came up with one of the Bulldogs’ three picks in the game, and now has three this season and six in his career, which ties the school’s record for most interceptions.

Queen Creek scored 14 points off the three takeaways, including Larsen’s fourth touchdown of the game, a 21-yard throw to senior tight end Rafael Aldecoa, which increased the Bulldogs’ lead to 28 – 6 in the opening minutes of the third quarter.

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED

Three and (game) over: There were three plays at the end of the first half and start of the third quarter that essentially put the game out of reach for the Toros.

The Bulldogs ended the first half with a nearly four-minute drive that ended with a five-yard touchdown pass from Larsen to Armando Orona with five seconds remaining in the half. Then, on Mountain View’s first snap of the third quarter, Queen Creek junior Keshaun Calip intercepted a pass, which was followed three plays later by Aldecoa’s scoring reception.

“I thought our defense played really well,” Schureman said. “To end the first half on a long drive for a touchdown and then the next play (from scrimmage) we get a pick and go down and score. We felt at that point the game was in our favor.”

Bond, Jace Bond: After the Toros cut the lead to nine points, 31 – 22, Jace Bond ran for a 24-yard touchdown to increase the lead to 17 points after Danny Marshall’s two-point PAT. The Bulldogs 5-foot-9, 165-pound running back rushed for a game-high 117 yards and two touchdowns on just 12 carries, including 12 and 24-yard scoring runs. The 100-yard rushing game was the first of Bond’s varsity career.

“Coach Germaine has been noticing me and seeing the effort I put in during practices,” Bond said. “I’ve been trying to get on the field and show him what I can do.”

Illegal (but tough) participation: Midway through the second quarter, Dylan Borja’s 50-plus-yard run was nullified due to an illegal participation penalty called on Dakota Banning, who had his helmet ripped off but continued blocking downfield, which is illegal. The Queen Creek sideline was upset but not necessarily with the flag on Banning. Instead, coaches wanted to know why a flag wasn’t thrown on the Toros’ defender who slung the helmet 20 yards downfield.

Banning, a wrestler and one tough son-of-a-gun, didn’t argue the call after the game.

“It was in the heat of the moment and I didn’t stop,” Banning said. “I just kept going and did what I had to do to let my running back get downfield for a big gain, but I got caught, so it’s alright.”

The drive ended with a punt, which Mountain View blocked and returned for a touchdown to cut the Bulldogs’ lead to 14 – 6.

“We can’t give up a blocked punt for (a touchdown) and let them back in the game,” Schureman said.

THREE STARS

The No. 1 Stars – Christian Fuhrman (54), Isaac Clonts (63), Dakota Banning (56), Adam Bowcutt (64), and Kyle Sawyer (75). (Caitlyn Craig).

No. 3: The DB’s – Danny Marshall, Keshaun Calip and Jett Koester, who each had an INT and, along with Yoann Djassa, kept the Toros’ passing attack in check.

No. 2:  Jace Bond. 137 all-purpose yards – 117 rushing and 20 receiving on 14 touches with a pair of TD’s.

No. 1: The offensive line – Banning, Kyle Sawyer, Christian Fuhrman, Isaac Clonts and Adam Bowcutt. The group’s performance made it possible for the running backs to reach a season-high in rushing yardage and provided time for Larsen to throw for 275 yards and four TD’s.

HE SAID IT

“There’s a lot of fond memories and respect for the Mountain View program. It wasn’t the greatest of weeks, as far as that goes, but we had a great week of practice, the kids prepared, but we try to keep it about the kids. It’s not about us, and Mountain View happens to be another team on our schedule. It’s never easy to play against guys you know and respect. I’m glad it’s over.” – Schureman on preparing and playing against the school he played at, graduated from, and won a state championship with.

UP NEXT

The Bulldogs host Skyline this Friday. The Coyotes (1 – 3) have lost three-straight following a season-opening 47 – 7 win at Mountain Ridge.

“We need to have a great week of preparation,” Banning said. “We have to be ready; they’re a good team. We’re anxious to show them how the Queen Creek Bulldogs play.”

Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m.