Queen Creek Aces Hamilton Test
11 months ago Andrew Luberda 1
If Friday night’s game versus 6A Hamilton was, in fact, a litmus test for the Queen Creek football team, it passed with flying colors, defeating the mighty Huskies at Jerry Loper Stadium, 41 – 28.
The victory is arguably the Bulldogs’ biggest since the 2012 State Championship, but like the Emergency Broadcast System announcement, Friday’s game was only a test, not the final exam.
“We’re excited about the outcome,” Queen Creek head coach Travis Schureman said after the game. “But this isn’t the end goal.
“This was the first step (toward) what we’re looking for on our journey,” he continued. “It’s a great win, but our group came over here expecting to win the game.”
Junior quarterback Devin Larsen threw for three touchdowns and rushed for another to help Queen Creek improve to 2 – 0. He led four-straight first-half scoring drives, which allowed the Bulldogs to hold a 27 – 14 lead at halftime.
Larsen, who completed 12 of 16 passes for 202 yards, connected with Jett Koester on a 46-yard scoring play on the opening drive before throwing touchdowns to Garret Duke and Dylan Borja. Trey Johnson scored on a 15-yard draw play before leaving the game with a significant knee injury.
The end of the half was the only impediment that slowed Larsen and the Bulldogs’ offense, which was forced to punt only once in the game.
“We performed really well tonight,” Larsen said. “Our receivers and our running backs (made) huge plays for us, and our coaches gave us a good game plan to come out this week. We executed what they had for us.”
An interception by Queen Creek linebacker Jon Matuzak on Hamilton’s opening drive of the second half set up Larsen’s rushing touchdown. Senior Dante Coleman, who hadn’t attempted a rush since he was a sophomore, ran for 16 yards on the play before the score, which increased the Bulldogs’ lead to 34 – 14 with 2:59 left in the third quarter.
The Huskies tallied a scored before the end of the quarter and their defense forced Queen Creek’s first punt on the first drive of the fourth quarter. Another touchdown by the Huskies pulled them within six points, 34 – 28.
On the ensuing drive, facing a second-and-five, Bulldogs’ junior running back Dylan Borja broke loose for 41 yards, down to the Huskies 19-yard line. A few plays later, Coleman ran it in from five yards out with 4:28 left in the game. Jacori Wooten’s fifth PAT of the game increased the lead to 41 – 28.
Was there any concern in the Bulldogs’ huddle after a 20-point lead dwindled to six points?
“I told them to keep doing what they had been doing all night,” Larsen responded. “We were controlling them up front, we gave Dylan the ball, and he had a huge run for us.”
“Our kids never panicked, they stayed the course,” added Schureman. “Our defense made two big stops in the second half right out of the gate. I’m super proud of the way they played tonight, and we’re going to enjoy it and get back to work (Saturday) morning.”
The Bulldogs’ need to start preparing for their next test.
Up next: Queen Creek hosts Sahuaro (Tucson) on Sept. 1 at 7 p.m.