Larsen, Defense Lead Queen Creek to Dominant Win in 6A Debut
11 months ago Andrew Luberda 0
If Friday night’s performance by the Queen Creek football team is “business as usual,” then business looks good for the Bulldogs as they compete at the state’s highest level of football for the first time.
Senior quarterback Devin Larsen threw for 290 of his 325 passing yards and six touchdowns during the first half of the Bulldogs’ 61 – 0 blowout victory against visiting Westwood in the season opener for both teams.
The Bulldogs’ new defense was even more dominant than the shutout would indicate, as it only allowed Westwood to cross midfield once – the Warriors opening drive of the game.
“Our kids just played well,” Queen Creek head coach Travis Schureman said after the game. “I was happy with the defense and proud of the collective effort from everybody. A lot of kids had a chance to play tonight and I didn’t feel we dropped off much with all the different kids out there, and that’s awesome.”
Larsen completed 22-of-25 passes in the game, connecting with eight different receivers, including seven who had at least two receptions. His six touchdown passes landed in the hands of four different receivers. Senior Ryan Dobbs and junior Jace Bond each finished with a game-high five receptions. Dobbs, who caught two touchdowns, led all receivers with 95 yards.
“Obviously, we know Devin is a great player, but I thought our receivers ran good routes, got open, and did the things they needed to do,” Schureman said.
Added Larsen, “It was a good week of preparation during practice. It started with the O-line, it gave me good protection all night – I didn’t get sacked once – and our receivers made some great catches.”
The Bulldogs excelled in their new “4-3” defense, limiting Westwood’s offense to less than five first downs and forcing several three-and-outs. The defense also recorded a safety on a botched punt snap that sailed through the endzone.
“We’ve been working hard all summer, working in the weight room, and on the field,” said junior middle linebacker Fritzny Niclasse, who led the Bulldogs with 13 tackles. “We were making plays everywhere and everyone was flying around to the ball.”
Was Friday’s lopsided win a statement?
“I don’t know if (the win) makes much of a statement,” Schureman said. “Our kids came out and played hard. It was great to see us play a full game in all three phases.”
MOMENT(S) THAT MATTERED
When your starting quarterback throws for six touchdowns in a half, they all matter. Here’s a chronological listing:
1Q, 10:29 – Three-yard pass to Rafael Aldecoa.
1Q, 1:17 – 10-yard pass to Isaiah Glass.
2Q, 11:12 – 35-yard pass to Ryan Dobbs.
2Q, 10:14 – 14-yard pass to Dylan Borja.
2Q, 3:37 – Four-yard pass to Isaiah Glass.
2Q, :05 – Five-yard pass to Ryan Dobbs.
– Senior defensive tackle Josh Dominguez recovered a Westwood fumble that preceded Larsen’s fourth TD.
“Josh is a really good player, he’s very quick,” Niclasse said. “Whenever there is a fumble he’s going to be there.”
– With a running clock, the Bulldogs’ first-drive of the second half featured Dylan Borja almost exclusively in the run game.
“It was to get our run game going,” said Borja, adding that his team wants to be balanced on offense.
THREE (4) STARS
No. 3 – The Bulldogs’ defensive unit. Can’t do any better than a shutout.
No. 2A – Dylan Borja. 130 total yards – 80 rushing, 50 receiving – one rushing touchdown and one receiving touchdown.
No. 2B – Ryan Dobbs. Five receptions for 95 yards and two touchdowns.
No. 1 – Devin Larsen. 22-of-25 for 325 yards and six touchdowns. It was the 6-foot-5 senior’s fifth game in which he threw four touchdown passes or more. He’s twice thrown six touchdowns in a game during his high school career.
HE SAID IT
“No comment.” – Dylan Borja, when asked if there was an intended statement with his third-quarter touchdown run in response to a social media post by Westwood players, suggesting they would hold Borja in check.
— County Line Preps (@CountyLinePreps) August 18, 2018
Queen Creek travels to Chandler to face the two-time defending 6A state champion Wolves, who figure to be an angry pack after a 35 – 13 road defeat to Centennial (Corona, CA) on Friday night. Chandler entered Friday’s game ranked No. 10 nationally.
“We’re going to enjoy this win tonight for about an hour and then we’re going to get to work on Chandler,” Schureman said.
The Friday, Aug. 24, game is scheduled to kickoff at 7 p.m.