Canyon Del Oro Hits Paydirt Eight Times in Non-Region Football win over AJHS
By Daniel Dullum
As the injuries continue to mount for Apache Junction High football, the losses are equally painful.
Adding insult to those injuries, Oro Valley Canyon Del Oro found the end zone eight times in a 55-26 non-region win over the Prospectors on Aug. 31 at Davis Field.
“We’re down to our third corner,” Prospectors Coach Vance Miller said. “Cheez (cornerback Chazz Chavez) got hurt, Talon Izbicki got hurt, (Gabe) Nogales is already out. We are wounded. We played a sophomore linebacker tonight. On the D-line, we’re rotating guys from the O-line to play.
“We’re just beat up.”
That said, Miller also recognizes the talent of the visiting Dorados, who improved to 1-1 while racking up 671 yards in total offense.
“(CDO) is a tough team, and I told the kids if we played them 10 times, we might beat them twice,” Miller said. “We had to play a perfect game and we just didn’t do that.”
William Lohman, who led AJ with 122 rushing yards on 15 carries, scored from 1 yard out at 2:08 of the first quarter, tying the game at 7-7.
Canyon Del Oro’s Stevie Rocker rushed for 200 yards and three touchdowns on 13 carries for the Dorados, plus a 67-yard TD reception. His first score – a 99-yard jaunt with 8:11 left in the second quarter – came after Prospectors punter Logan Dela Cruz had a 38-yard kick downed at the CDO 1-yard line.
“An excellent play by Stevie in getting it the distance. He’s that type of kid that’s only a sophomore, so you’re going to see a lot more of him,” Dorados Coach Dustin Peace said. “Traditionally, AJ plays a solid defense, so the rushing yards he had tonight was phenomenal.”
CDO quarterback Zach Eidenschink completed 11 of 15 passes for 406 yards and five touchdowns.
“Our first week, we had a bye because of the rain, but now our offense is clicking,” Peace said. “We knew we were going to have various weapons with Stevie coming in, Zach is a three-year starter at quarterback, and we have veteran guys up front.
“Our defense was what I was happy with. We gave up some long plays, but if we can make teams work for it, we’ll be fine. Offensively, what you saw is our expectation.”
Apache Junction (1-2) pulled to within 28-13 at 6:17 of the third quarter when Justin Ramirez scampered 60 yards on a reverse. But CDO responded with a pair of touchdown passes by Eidenschink and Rocker’s 4-yard rushing TD to open the fourth quarter.
Lohman scored his second touchdown on a 9-yard run with 9:15 remaining in the game.
AJ quarterback Gibson Limongello completed 11 of 15 passes for 105 yards and one touchdown – a 31-yard scoring pass to Ramirez with 6:29 left in the fourth quarter. Limongello also gained 81 yards rushing on 11 carries.
Dela Cruz and Chris Lohman each caught three passes for AJ. Chavez and Manny Acosta led the Prospector defense with five and four tackles, respectively, and Freddie Borunda recorded a sack.
NEXT: VISTA GRANDE
The Prospectors travel to Casa Grande this Friday for a non-region game against Vista Grande. The Spartans are 2-1 after a season-opening loss to Tucson Sahuaro, followed by victories over Tucson Amphitheater and Tucson Cholla.
“I think we’ll match up well with Vista Grande,” Miller said. “I think we’re getting rid of our cockiness. We’ve been cocky since California. Last week we got punched in the mouth and I’d hoped we would respond a little better, and I think they did. But as soon as we lost guys and we had guys going both ways, we’re just down.
“For lack of a better term, we had to punt. We were playing with Band-Aids.”
Miller said the Prospectors will take Labor Day off, giving his team a chance to heal up.
“We’ll probably practice a little lighter next week just to try and get the bumps and bruises out and hope that approach is a little bit better for next Friday,” Miller said.
“We’ll get back to fundamentals and fix what we can fix.”
Following the game against Vista Grande, the Prospectors will have a bye week before facing Phoenix Shadow Mountain on Sept. 21.
Apache Junction’s junior varsity “B” team upended Canyon del Oro 22-6 on Aug. 29 at Davis Field. Quarterback Jordan Digos scored three touchdowns on runs of 9 and 4 yards, and a 65-yard punt return. He also scored two 2-point conversion runs.
The Prospectors’ JV-B is 1-0. The AJ junior varsity traveled to Oro Valley on Aug. 20 and suffered a 42-0 setback.
Photo above: Prospectors defenders Noah Mittendorf (56) and Devin Ross (11) lead the charge to haul down a Canyon Del Oro runner during the AJ Junior Varsity-B win on Aug. 29. (Photo by Daniel Dullum)