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Marauders eke out win to advance in playoffs
Written by Staci Gasser   
Wednesday, 07 November 2012 00:00

The Mingus Union High School Marauders, the No. 6 seed, advanced to the quarterfinals of the Division IV state playoffs after a come-from-behind win over No. 7 Coolidge Bears on Friday, Nov. 2, at Mingus Union High School.

Mingus Union High School defensive linemen take down Tyus Smith of Coolidge during a home playoff game Friday, Nov. 3. The Marauders won the game 17-14 and move on to the second round to play Seton Catholic High School in Glendale on Friday, Nov. 10.In a game of turnovers and penalties, the Marauders tamed Coolidge’s weapons of speed and won the game 17-14 with a Tyler Herndon touchdown in the fourth quarter.

“Coolidge is as fast as anybody we are going to see at this point, but the defensive coaches had a great game plan that the guys executed,” Head Coach Bob Young said. “I mean, we gave up one big play. Other than that, we shut them down totally.”

The Marauders easily made their way down the field on the opening drive, but fumbled on the Bears’ 17-yard line. The Bears recovered. This happened again on the Marauders’ second possession.

The first quarter showcased how strong both defenses were as run plays were stopped and passes were broken up.

With 57 seconds left of the first quarter, though, J.T. Gray of Coolidge ran 80 yards down the sideline for a touchdown.

On a second-and-13 on the Marauders’ 34-yard line, Herdon broke through a number of tackles to the Bears’ 12-yard line. A sack and a penalty combined with the big Bear defense brought the Marauders to fourth down. Senior kicker Gilberto Quidera kicked a field goal, making the score 7-3.

On the ensuing Bears’ drive, the Marauders held the Bears to fourth-and-13 on the Marauders 26-yard line. However, a passing interference call on the Marauders gave the Bears a first down on the 14-yard line. The Bears capitalized on it, scoring another touchdown.

With 3½ minutes left in the first half, Gray intercepted a Luke Simmons pass, but on second-and-10 the ball became loose in the pile and the Marauders recovered it on the 50-yard line. Herndon and junior Dakota Hanks pushed their way downfield with small gains to the 4-yard line. A handoff to Herndon, who took it up the middle, gave the Marauders a touchdown. Quidera’s point-after-touchdown was blocked by Gray.

The score was 14-9 Bears at halftime.

The second half started the same as the first. The Marauders were able to get into the red zone a couple of times on long drives, but couldn’t get the points. Yellow flags seemed to by flying on almost every other snap.

At the same time, the defense led by Brandon Gregson, Josh Longfellow, Zach Pelletier and Jordan Welborn contained Gray, Tyus Smith and the rest of the Bears’ quick offense.

“Between the turnovers and penalties, we could have scored a lot more points, but that’s the name of the game,” Young said. “You have to finish it off.”

With 5 minutes left in the game, junior running back Brennan Kitchen ran 37 yards to convert a fourth down to a first. Herndon then converted a third down to a first with a 23-yard run. A personal foul on the Bears pushed the Marauders to the 11-yard line.

Runs by Herndon and Longfellow pushed the line of scrimmage to the 1-yard line as the crowd erupted. The Bears defense held the Marauders. It was second-and-goal with only inches to go. Simmons handed off to Herndon who punched his way into the end zone. A Simmons pass to senior Jesse Morones sealed the 2-point conversion.

“I was speechless,” Herndon said when asked about

For the full story, please see the Wednesday, Nov. 7, issue of the Cottonwood Journal Extra.

 

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