ROUNDUP: Wright, Palo Verde off to speedy start


Palo Verde football coach Darwin Rost pondered one big question as he sent his players onto Green Valley’s field for their season opener Friday.

Senior running back Brandon Wright answered it in a hurry.

Wright rushed for 292 yards and four touchdowns on 12 carries to lead the Panthers to a convincing 62-20 victory over the Gators.

Perhaps more importantly, Rost’s pregame nerves about offensive production had been calmed by the end of the first quarter.

“You just never know what to expect on opening night,” said Rost, who lost several key offensive players to graduation. “This is a new group, so you don’t know how everyone’s going to jell. I thought we looked OK.”

Wright, who gained 219 yards on 10 first-half carries, made an immediate impression by capping the Panthers’ first drive with a 44-yard touchdown run.

After teammate Jonathan Maxwell extended the lead to 14-0 with an 18-yard run, the Gators turned the ball over on downs and Wright made them pay with a 65-yard touchdown.

“I give credit to my line, fullbacks and wings,” Wright said. “But we can still get better. Our goal is to get better each week.”

But the Panthers were as good as they needed to be Friday. By the time Ryan Beaulieu intercepted a Paul McKay pass and returned it 32 yards for a 28-0 lead, Rost was already smiling.

Wright, who touched the ball only twice in the second half, scored on a 68-yard run in the second quarter and had a 29-yard scoring run in the third. Chaisson Prescott’s 12-yard touchdown on a fumble recovery made it 49-0.
 
Palo Verde, which scored touchdowns on six of its eight possessions, never had to punt. The defense forced four turnovers to keep the Gators from putting together a serious threat.

Eric South rushed for a third-quarter touchdown to pad the Panthers’ lead and Donald Anderson returned a kick for an 85-yard TD minutes later.

Green Valley got on the board against Palo Verde’s bench, scoring on a 25-yard run by Rakeem Griffin late in the third and two 12-yard runs by Stefan Vandyke in the fourth.

Aaron Jackson led Green Valley with 106 yards on 15 carries, and Griffin rushed four times for 82 yards.

Faith Lutheran 26, Fountain Valley (Calif.) 23 — At Faith Lutheran, Joe Portaro passed for 296 yards and three touchdowns, including the 22-yard game-winner to Brett Lubbe with 23 seconds to play, and the Crusaders rallied past the Barons. 

Brad Pearson forced a fumble by Fountain Valley’s Montana Merhoff  and Lubbe recovered at the Barons 46-yard line with 1:14 to play.
 
Portaro threw a 14-yard pass to Lubbe to convert on fourth-and-10.

Four plays later, Porataro scrambled and found Lubbe over the middle for the winning score. It was Portaro’s 51st pass attempt and 24th completion.

Fountain Valley took a 23-19 lead early in the fourth quarter, exploiting three interceptions and five Faith Lutheran penalties in the second half.

The Barons scored on quarterback Josiah Fernandez’s 1-yard keeper and a 6-yard TD run by Merhoff, who had 161 yards and two touchdowns on 16 carries.

The Crusaders led at halftime 12-10 and took a 19-10 lead with 6:54 left in the third quarter on a 10-yard TD pass from Portaro, whose pass was tipped and caught by an unintended-receiver, Tanner Dupree, while on his back in the end zone.

Justin Dannan raced for a 79-yard TD run on Faith Lutheran’s first offensive play from scrimmage.

Lubbe finished with nine catches for 110 yards and Don Pearson caught eight for 117 yards and a touchdown.
— Brennan Karle

Foothill 48, Bonanza 14 — At Bonanza, quarterback Parker Riggin and Darius Gates hooked up for two first-half touchdowns to spark the Falcons.

Riggin found Gates along the left sideline for a tiebreaking 71-yard connection and then a 9-yard TD in the second quarter to make it 21-7.

Riggin completed his first five passes and finished 10 of 16 for 152 yards, all by halftime. Gates made three catches for 87 yards.

Connor Afoa and Kyle Keplinger led Foothill’s potent ground game. Afoa gained 115 yards on 13 carries including a 15-yard touchdown, while Keplinger ran for TDs of 8 and 13 yards and had 100 yards on eight carries The Falcons compiled 412 total yards and held Bonanza to 162, only 28 in the second half.

Foothill’s defense also scored on Cole Lancaster’s fumble recovery in the end zone and Ryan Call’s 29-yard interception return. Keegan Buck made two sacks.

Bonanza’s Dasean Martin ran for a 56-yard touchdown on the Bengals’ first offensive play and hauled in a 70-yard touchdown pass from Sterling Sprau in the second quarter.
— Tim Guesman

Centennial 48, Clark 13 — At Centennial, Willie White scored on runs of 25, 9, 80 and 12 yards on only seven carries, guiding the Bulldogs past the Chargers.

White, who finished with 132 yards, scored twice on Centennial’s first four plays from scrimmage. Taj Cole made it 21-0 with a 3-yard run in the second quarter.

In the third quarter, the Bulldogs’ Coby Newton ran for a 32-yard score and White scored twice. Cole added another TD on a 65-yard run.

For Clark, Chris Jackson ran for a 3-yard TD late in the first half and Derrick West ran for a score in the third quarter.

Greg McKinney led Clark with 84 yards on nine carries.
— Adam Berchin

Arbor View 42, Rancho 7 — At Rancho, Jordan Godman rushed for 100 yards and three touchdowns in the first half as the Aggies coasted past the Rams.

Arbor View kept the ball for nearly 16 minutes in the first half, outgaining Rancho 261-90, and Godman supplied scoring runs of 11, 43 and 15 yards.

Justin Nehls threw touchdown passes to Steve Burns (11 yards) and Roderick Eason (59).

The Aggies gained 352 yards on the ground, with 10 players getting carries. The Rams were held to 90 yards on 27 rushes.

Rancho quarterback Will Gosse-Gardet scored on an 8-yard run in the second quarter.
— Sam Leeper

Desert Oasis 32, Valley 0 — At Valley, Trevon Barnes passed for a touchdown and ran for two as the Diamondbacks blanked the Vikings.

Barnes completed 5 of 10 passes for 93 yards, including a 39-yard TD to sophomore Jordyn Compenas, who had 87 yards on three catches.

Desert Oasis compiled 338 rushing yards, led by sophomore Devin Fortenberry with 140 and a touchdown on 19 carries. Fullback Angelo Bianco supplied 65 yards and a TD.

Bryon Peeples led Valley with 15 yards on six carries, and Anthony Sanders completed 2 of 8 passes for 4 yards.
— Sean Walker

Shadow Ridge 31, Sierra Vista 0 — At Shadow Ridge, the Mustangs’ defense and special teams keyed their shutout of the Mountain Lions.

Shadow Ridge held Sierra Vista to 25 yards in the first half, when the Mustangs’ Alex Martinez recovered a tipped punt and ran 5 yards for the touchdown.

On Shadow Ridge’s next possession, Jordan Brown threw a 55-yard touchdown pass to Erick Thompson.

Gene Germain rushed for 44 yards on 16 carries for Sierra Vista.
— Brian Danise

Basic 41, Boulder City 7 — At Basic, Vince Carducci passed for four touchdowns, all in the first half, and the Wolves routed the Eagles in the annual Jug Game.

Carducci completed 15 of 24 passes for 232 yards. His touchdown passes went to DeVonte Boyd for 27 yards and Matthew Dembinski for 16 yards in the first quarter, then to Darian Spencer for 8 and 22 yards in the second.

Boyd caught five passes for 78 yards and rushed for a 6-yard score. Spencer had five catches for 75 yards.

Basic held Boulder City to 28 yards in the first half and 87 total. The Eagles scored on Matt Combs’ 70-yard kickoff return in the first quarter.
— Tristan Aird

Spring Mountain 52, Beaver Dam (Ariz.) 12 — At Spring Mountain, Alistair Houpe scored on a 19-yard run, a 75-yard kickoff return and a 40-yard fumble return to carry the Golden Eagles past the Diamondbacks.

Houpe’s rushing TD came in the first quarter when Spring Mountain took a 24-0 lead. His other scores were in the fourth quarter.

Malcom Brown ran for touchdowns of 41 and 31 yards, and Matthew
Trapp had scoring runs of 8 and 3 yards for the Golden Eagles, who held Beaver Dam to five first downs.
— Brandon Donnelly

Virgin Valley 16, Kanab (Utah) 0 — At Mesquite, Humberto Urias ran for 107 yards and threw a 34-yard touchdown pass to Daniel Gleave as the Bulldogs blanked Kanab.

Kyler Hughes scored on a 1-yard run in the second quarter and Urias added his touchdown pass in the fourth.

The Bulldogs’ defense took care of the rest, holding the Cowboys to 172 yards.

Desert Hills (Utah) 21, Moapa Valley 0 — At Overton, Desert Hills took advantage of six turnovers to shut out the Pirates.

Two of Chase Webster’s four completions for the Thunder went for touchdowns: 61 yards to Darian Nelson in the first quarter and 14 to Mike Needham in the third.

Corbin Fitzgerald returned an interception 22 yards for a touchdown in the second quarter.

Moapa Valley had 223 total yards, with Kelan Weiss passing for 120.

Diamond Ranch (Utah) 30, Agassi Prep 22 — At Hurricane, Utah, the Diamondbacks carried a 16-14 lead into halftime and led the rest of the way. Terrell Kemp and Tank Carter ran for touchdowns for Agassi Prep.

Laughlin 28, Indian Springs 21 — At Indian Springs, the Cougars returned an interception for a touchdown late in the fourth quarter to break a 21-21 tie and defeat the Thunderbirds.

Adam Reinke rushed for 179 yards and three touchdowns on 29 carries for Indian Springs, which compiled 285 yards.

Enterprise (Utah) 46, Mountain View 16 — At Enterprise, Utah, the Wolves scored 22 straight points in the first quarter and cruised past the Saints.
 
Mountain View cut the lead to 22-8 on T.J. Engel’s 52-yard TD pass to Justyn Anderson in the second quarter, but Enterprise responded with 17 unanswered points to take a 39-8 halftime lead.
 
Engel completed 7 of 9 passes for 132 yards for Mountain View, and Anderson had five receptions for 87 yards.

Tonopah 46, Round Mountain 38 — At Round Mountain, the Muckers jumped to a 20-0 lead in the second quarter and held on for the win.
 
Round Mountain pulled within 40-38 in the fourth quarter, but Cedric Kirby scored on a 31-yard run to give Tonopah the final margin.
 
Kirby carried 15 times for 159 yards, and teammate Seth Littlefield added 128 yards and one TD on 14 carries for Tonopah.
 
Littlefield completed 13 of 23 passes for 212 yards and two TDs. Teammate Eddie Reynoso caught 10 passes for 166 yards and two scores.