AJHS Routs Cortez, Awaits Showdown at Glendale

Prospectors Score Nine Times in Black Canyon Region Win over Youthful Colts

By Daniel Dullum

After building a 42-point halftime lead, Apache Junction cruised to a 63-0 4A Black Canyon Region win over Phoenix Cortez at Davis Field on Oct. 12.

Junior quarterback Gibson Limongello completed 6-of-9 passes for 145 yards and four touchdowns, and William Lohman ran 10 times for 103 yards and two touchdowns (plus a scoring pass reception) playing in the first half, as the Prospectors used mostly younger reserves in the third and fourth quarters.

“Cortez gets all kinds of credit,” Prospectors Coach Vance Miller said. “They’re a really young team, their coaches have done a great job over there, getting kids out and tonight, they played hard on every down, right to the end.

“We were able to get some of our younger guys in there and get a break for our regulars. The main thing we wanted to do was clean up some things – we only had a couple of penalties – and get ourselves ready for Glendale.”

The Prospectors (5-3 overall, 3-0 region) first found the end zone at 5:24 of the first quarter when Justin Ramirez caught a 41-yard touchdown pass from Limongello. Three minutes later, Lohman caught a 17-yard TD pass to make it 14-0.

AJHS closed out the first quarter with Limongello’s third scoring pass, this one to Ethan LaBrue from 13 yards out.

The Prospectors tacked on 21 more points in the second quarter on a 20-yard pass from Limongello to Joe Pomeroy, and touchdown runs of 5 and 25 yards by Lohman. Talon Izbicki’s interception set up Lohman’s second TD of the quarter.

“Once the first half was over, we got the younger guys in there, ran them between the tackles,” Miller said. “It was nice to see some of the younger guys get out there and get some featured runs.”

In the third quarter, reserve quarterback Ethan Knox scored on a 16-yard run, and an interception by Anthony Nguyen set up Aydin Franco’s 25-yard TD run on an end around.

Brody Bullard’s 2-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter closed out the scoring, and the Colts’ eighth loss of the season.

“They all know that we’re real young right now,” Colts Coach Anthony Groth said. “We only have one senior starting on offense, and one senior starting on defense.

“We’ve been talking now about the mental approach, making sure we’re getting better as a team, and it’s only going to pay off in the long run.”

Groth sees good things down the road with his youthful Colts.

“Our offensive line has three juniors and two sophomores, our starting quarterback is a sophomore. We’re just young all over,” Groth said. “All season, we come out and we compete at the beginning, then we fall off, fall off. I think that’s inexperience.”

Prospectors kicker Chazz Chavez converted a season-best 9 of 9 extra point attempts. Bullard led the AJ defense with six tackles, with five tackles each by Pomeroy and Justin Fabritz.

NEXT: GLENDALE

The Prospectors travel to Glendale this Friday for a 7 p.m. game that goes a long way to determining the Black Canyon Region championship. The Cardinals are 8-0 overall, and tied with AJHS for first place in the region at 3-0.

“We’re at their place and the cards are stacked against us,” Miller said. “Hopefully, Combs played them well enough to give us a good look on film.

“We have to control the line of scrimmage, that’s going to be the biggest challenge for us. They’ve got a big offensive line and a big running back,” he continued. “If we can control the line of scrimmage, I think we can win the ballgame.”

Glendale (ranked No. 2 in the latest AIA 4A power poll) defeated San Tan Valley Combs 49-14 on Oct. 12. The Cardinals’ closest game was their season opener against Flagstaff on Aug. 24, won by Glendale 32-28.

“It’s going to be a fight. Glendale hasn’t had a close game all year,” Miller said. “If we can give them a close game, I don’t know how ready they’ll be to adjust, whereas we’ve already been in four of five close games already. Because of that, we’ll know how to adjust at halftime.

“I think we’ll be the biggest challenge they’ve had all year.”

JV-B UPDATE

Apache Junction’s junior varsity-B squad defeated the Phoenix Cortez JV-B 60-14 on Oct. 10 at Davis Field.

Doug Reh ran six times for 138 yards and two touchdowns; and Jordan Digos carried 10 times for 137 yards and three touchdowns. Digos also completed 5 of 10 passes for 85 yards.

Also scoring for AJ was Hunter De La Cruz (65-yard kickoff return), Ayhdin Franko, Nathan Frye and Cameron Haselhorst.

Nathan Munoz and Rudy Robinson led the Prospectors with seven and six tackles, respectively.

Photo above: Prospectors JV-B Coach J.J. Digos addresses his team during a first-half time out. (Photo by Daniel Dullum)

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