Larsen Throws Six TD’s in Queen Creek’s Playoff Win

2 years ago Andrew Luberda 0

The Queen Creek football team entered Friday night’s 5A first-round playoff game looking to regain the mojo it displayed during the nine-game winning streak that ended with last week’s loss in the regular-season finale.

Based on Friday’s results, it appears the Bulldogs found what they were looking for.

Behind six touchdown passes by junior quarterback Devin Larsen, the No. 5-seed Bulldogs defeated No. 12 Marana Mountain View at Queen Creek High School, 48 – 20.

Four of Larsen’s six scoring tosses came on Queen Creek’s first four possessions of the game, including the first offensive play from scrimmage, when he connected with junior receiver Ryan Dobbs on a 64-yard touchdown.

“We knew just before the game that we were going to take a shot on the first play,” Larsen told after the game. “We practiced that play a lot this week. Ryan made a great play, great catch, and a great run to get the touchdown.”

Friday marked the second-consecutive first-round playoff game in which Larsen threw six touchdowns. He first pulled off the feat in his playoff debut a year ago versus Desert View.

Against the Mountain Lions on Friday night, Larsen completed 14-of-21 passes for 351 yards and now has 26 touchdown passes this year after throwing for 25 as a sophomore.

Dobbs, who had four catches for 101 yards, also caught Larsen’s second touchdown throw, an 18-yard reception, which came after a bobbled snap. Larsen picked up ball, rolled right and hit Dobbs in the right corner of the endzone to increase the Bulldogs lead to 14 – 0.

“It’s just stuff that we worked on all week,” answered Dobbs, when asked how the Queen Creek receivers were able to consistently get behind the Mountain Lions’ defenders. “Getting off the ball strong, offsetting them, and beating them.”

The Bulldogs’ defense, which was without regular starters Addison Udall, Crew Turner and Isaiah Tapia, forced a pair of three-and-outs on Mountain View’s first two possessions, but the Mountain Lions made some adjustments on their third possession and scored on a five-yard touchdown run. The Bulldogs’ Kobe Kaesler blocked the PAT, making the score 14 – 6.

The second quarter featured little, if any, defense, as the teams traded scores.

After Larsen’s third touchdown pass, a 49-yarder to Garrett Duke, Mountain View’s Josh Hart returned the ensuing kickoff. Larsen’s fourth touchdown, again to Duke, was followed by a Hart touchdown reception with 3:14 left before halftime, which turned out to be the only successful defense against the Bulldogs’ signal caller.

“After last week, we were curious to see how our kids would respond and we felt like they responded well tonight,” Queen Creek head coach Travis Schureman said afterwards. “We started quick on defense first, then Devin throws a great ball on that first play and we started to go from there.”

Larsen and the Bulldogs picked up in the third quarter where they left off in the first half, scoring their fifth touchdown in six possessions on a 35-yard pass to junior Jett Koester. Sophomore kicker Zane Kaupe’s PAT was good, increasing the Bulldogs’ lead to 35 – 20.

Kaupe, who stepped in for the injured Jacori Wooten, hit six of seven PAT in the game.

The three players on the Queen Creek defense who replaced the injured starters – Duke, Koester and junior Fritzny Niclasse – grew more comfortable as the game wore on, as evidenced by Niclasse’s fumble recovery on the Mountain Lions’ next possession.

“It’s a credit to those guys,” Schureman said about the performance of the trio who filled in on defense. “We have three starters out for this game and they stepped up and played very well.”

Marana Mountain View was held scoreless in the second half.

Larsen, though, continued his dominance, connecting with tight end Jake Ayala, who carried Mountain Lions’ defenders the last 10 yards of a 62-yard touchdown reception.

With Larsen’s night ended, senior running back Carter Williamson closed the scoring with a short touchdown run with less than two minutes remaining.

The Bulldogs totaled more than 500 yards of offense, which included 133 rushing yards on 19 carries by Dylan Borja. Duke finished with 83 yards on a pair of receptions while Ayala also had two catches for 68 yards.

With the win, Queen Creek will travel to North Scottsdale next Friday to take on No. 4-seed and undefeated Notre Dame Prep.

“I haven’t seen any film on Notre Dame and we haven’t had any common opponents,” Schureman said. “We’re excited to get to practice tomorrow morning, not many teams get to do that. We’ll get to work so we can be ready next week.”

Kickoff for Friday’s game is scheduled for 7 p.m.