Defending Champ Williams Field First to Defeat Queen Creek

10 months ago Andrew Luberda 0

Defending state champion Williams Field looked like a team on a mission to repeat last Friday night, defeating previously unbeaten and then No. 2-ranked Queen Creek, 27 – 6.

Queen Creek Seniors.

The Black Hawks, who were visiting Queen Creek for the first time since 2014, spoiled Senior Night while winning the San Tan Region Championship on Ralph Pomeroy Field.

After deferring their choice until the second half, the Black Hawks’ wisely put their defense on the field first. It was move that paid immediate dividends following Jordan Pearson’s pick-six off a tipped pass on the Bulldogs’ third play from scrimmage.

The interception was the first of several mistakes made by Queen Creek in the game, including a holding penalty on the opening kickoff then a false start during the first series.

A 44-yard completion to Nick Allen setup junior quarterback Zack Shepherd’s six-yard touchdown run, increasing the Black Hawks’ lead to 14 – 0 with just over four minutes left in the first quarter.

Brandon Brody’s 48-yard field goal in the opening minutes of the second quarter made it a 17-point deficit for the Bulldogs. A failed fourth-down conversion at Queen Creek’s 29-yard line set up the Black Hawks’ next touchdown, a Jaden Thompson four-yard run.

With just over five minutes left before halftime, Queen Creek trailed, 24 – 0.

The Bulldogs’ only score came in the closing minute of the first half, a 14-yard touchdown pass from Devin Larsen to Garrett Duke, which capped off an 80-yard drive and theoretically gave the home team momentum heading to the locker room.

As he did at the start of the game, Pearson came up with an interception on the Bulldogs’ first possession of the second half, essentially eliminating any momentum established before halftime.

Queen Creek TE Rafael Aldecoa (81) runs for the first down after the catch, the Bulldogs’ only successful fourth-down conversion in last Friday’s loss.

As evidenced by the result, the Bulldogs’ performance throughout the regular-season finale was its poorest of the season so far. Most of their difficulties can be attributed to the Black Hawks’ defense, which stuffed four of Queen Creek’s five fourth-down attempts.

“Offensively, we have to play better than we did (Friday) night,” Queen Creek head coach Travis Schureman said after the game. “Credit to Williams Field for playing great defense and controlling the line of scrimmage.”

“We didn’t do enough up front to get the job done,” he added. “We have to do better.”

The now fifth-seeded Bulldogs will need to turn the page quickly and focus on this Friday’s first-round playoff opponent, No. 12 Marana Mountain View.

Queen Creek entered last Friday’s rivalry game one of the top state title contenders and, despite the loss, remain amongst a handful of teams, including Williams Field, that could win the 5A State Championship on Dec. 2 in Tucson.

“We have to go back to what’s brought us to this point,” said Schureman, looking ahead to the state playoffs. “We’ve been successful by doing the little things right and playing with great emotion and passion.”

“If we can fix some of the things we did wrong (against Williams Field), settle down, and play the way we’re capable of, then good things will happen.”

Bulldogs’ supporters will be expecting some good things this Friday versus the Mountain Lions.

Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. at Queen Creek High School.