Maignan Does it all but Gophers Need More

1 year ago Andrew Luberda 0

See Josh run.

See Josh throw.

See Josh catch.

See Josh tackle.

Those in attendance last Friday night at Florence High School did see Gophers’ junior Josh Maignan do all the above and more, but it wasn’t enough for a victory in the home opener, as visiting Snowflake defeated Florence, 34 – 14.

Josh Maignan’s one-yard touchdown run and 2-pt PAT in the third quarter of last Friday’s game tied the score, 14 – 14. (Caitlyn Craig)

The 5-foot-10, 188-pound Player of the Year candidate is listed as a receiver and cornerback on the Gophers’ roster, but as evidenced by his performance against the Lobos, he’s a running back and quarterback too.

Maignan rushed for 159 yards on 12 carries, including two rushes of more than 80 yards each. The first was an 83-yard touchdown run with 47 seconds left in the first quarter. He later added an 86-yard run in the third quarter.

Trailing 14 – 7 at the half, the Gophers tied the game on their opening possession of the second half with Maignan running the “Wildcat” offense. He capped off the 66-yard drive with a one-yard scoring running and converted the ensuring two-point PAT.

Maignan also completed 3-of-6 passes for 38 yards, caught three passes and finished with seven tackles. He accounted for 206 of the Gophers’ 286 total yards.

“We’re trying, they need to step up,” Florence head coach Scott Howard said after the game when asked if he wants to see more guys involved on offense. “We tried to get other guys involved (but) too many mistakes.”

Despite the loss, the Gophers performance in their home opener was much improved when compared to their season opener a week earlier at Page, where they committed nine turnovers in a 46 – 12 loss.

“I’m super happy about the improvement from last week to this week,” Howard said. “If we keep up this progress we’ll be right where we want to be at the end of the season.”


Mistakes costly: In addition to little offensive production other than Maignan, the Gophers hurt themselves with mistakes and penalties. Most notably were dropped passes, including one on a third-down play in the first quarter that would’ve extended the drive. In the third quarter, after junior linebacker Zach Walker stuffed the Lobos on a fourth-and-goal play, Maignan’s 88-yard run immediately followed to set up first-and-goal at the seven-yard line for the Gophers. Two plays later, Florence was flagged for a personal foul penalty and ultimately did not score.

“If we could’ve punched it in there, I think it would’ve been a different outcome,” Howard said.

Josh Maignan runs through the tackle of a Lobos’ defender during last Friday’s game. (Caitlun Craig).

Effective Wildcat: The Gophers most productive offensive drive was its first of the second half, when Maignan was in the “Wildcat.” The 66-yard drive ended in the tying touchdown.

With Maignan carrying the load elsewhere, does Howard want to run the “Wildcat” as much as he did against the Lobos?

“We do, (Josh is) our guy,” he responded. “We have to get the ball in his hands, but we still need other guys to step up.”

Fateful Fourth: Each team had three possessions in the fourth quarter, which proved to be the difference in the game. The Lobos scored on each of theirs, including once after the Gophers threw an interception to end one of their drives. The Gophers’ other two drives ended with a punt – following penalties on consecutive plays – and the game clock expiring.



No. 3 – Regen Terry. Six tackles, including a game-high three TFL.

No. 2 – Samual Mendoza. Team-high 12 tackles, including one TFL

No. 1 – Josh Maignan. 206 total yards and seven tackles and key pass defended on a third-and-five at the start of the second half, after which the Gophers tied the game on the ensuing drive.




“He’s a beast. I’m excited to watch his future.” – Howard talking about Maignan.


The Gophers hit the road, playing at Blue Ridge, which is now 1 – 2 after two-straight losses, including last week at St. Johns (27 – 18). Florence will play two home games after its trip to the White Mountains.

“If we keep getting better, keep improving (then) we’re in a stretch with some winnable games,” Howard said. “We can hit a run [of wins], so I’m excited about how we responded tonight. I was a worried about how they would respond after last week, but they did a great job.”