Poston Butte Responds with Win against Marcos de Niza
3 weeks ago Andrew Luberda 0
On a night when it honored local first responders during a pregame ceremony, the Poston Butte football team had a response of its own, ending a three-game losing streak by defeating visiting Marcos de Niza on Friday, Oct. 12, 31 – 15.
The Broncos rushed for 335 yards and four touchdowns, including two in each half, while limiting the Padres’ offense to 260 total yards and forcing five turnovers – four fumbles and an interception.
“I was excited (about) the way we came out,” Poston Butte head coach Dain Thompson said after the game, referring to his team’s 17 – 0 lead at halftime. “(It) was an exciting (circumstance) for this group because we haven’t come out fast and hard this whole season.
“This was an improvement in effort, energy, excitement, and things like that to start the game. We made some plays that gave us confidence.”
The start of the second half was nearly the exact opposite of the first, as the Padres scored on two of their first three possessions of the third quarter to cut the Broncos’ lead to 17 – 15 with 2:41 remaining.
Appropriately enough, the Broncos responded.
— County Line Preps (@CountyLinePreps) October 13, 2018
Junior running back Khalil Cooper scored the first of his two fourth-quarter touchdowns on a 43-yard run to extend the lead to 24 – 15 with 3:08 left in the game. He later sealed the victory with a 20-yard touchdown run following an interception by sophomore teammate Zion Burns.
“We started off a little shaky after halftime,” Cooper answered when asked about his game-clinching touchdown run. “I was just thinking that we had to (score), we just had to end it. We needed to win this game.”
The victory ended the Broncos’ three-game losing streak, while keeping their hopes alive to finish the season with a .500 record.
“It was two teams that were very evenly matched,” Thompson said. “It was whichever team executed better. We took care of the ball and we overcome their energy avalanche that they came out with after halftime. We were able to eventually regain our composure and get it under control.”
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Fast, and different, start – In the three games before Marcos de Niza, all losses, the Broncos were outscored by a combined scored in the first three quarters of those games, 96 – 29.
Against the Padres, the Broncos’ 17 – 0 start was a welcome sight.
“We did a better job of running outside,” Thompson said. “We were efficient throwing the ball.”
The offensive line was the difference in both halves.
“We encouraged our line to take control of the trenches,” Thompson said. “That’s what they had done in the first half, which was the difference in the first half.”
Timely response – Poston Butte able to stop the Padres’ early onslaught in the second half, forcing a pair of turnovers – a Tevin Perez fumble recovery and Zion Burns’ interception – to turn the tide back in the Broncos’ favor.
“We had to step it up once they started their comeback,” Perez said. “Once they started to gain more momentum, we had to stop it.”
The Cooler – aka Khalil Cooper, who put the game on ice with a pair of touchdown runs during the final 3:08 of the game.
“We needed to focus,” Cooper said. “We made small mistakes everywhere. We fixed that at the end and that really helped us.”
No. 3 – Thomas Gaitan. Four receptions for 77 yards to go along with six tackles.
No. 2 – Carlos Roman. 130 rushing yards on 14 carries and a TD.
No. 1 – Khalil Cooper. 109 rushing yards on 15 carries and two TDs in addition to a team-high seven tackles, including four TFL and a sack.
HE SAID IT
“I think we’ve been able to run the ball all year, so this wasn’t something we didn’t expect to happen. Our team takes pride in trying to (rush) for 300, 400 yards.” – Thompson on Broncos’ rushing attack.