Considering his team’s six-game drought against Coronado, Green Valley flag football coach David Torrez suspected the Gators would need a near-perfect performance to get a postseason win on Tuesday.
It wasn’t perfect, but it was good enough.
Deborah Grant rushed 21 times for 80 yards, and Jazlyn Camacho caught the go-ahead touchdown pass in the fourth quarter to help the Gators edge the Cougars, 13-6 for the Desert Region Championship at Green Valley.
Green Valley (26-2) will face Bonanza (17-9) for the state title at 5:30 p.m. Thursday at Cimarron-Memorial.
“Any time you play Coronado, the margin for error is very slim,” Torrez said. “Luckily, we got that monkey off our back tonight.”
The Gators’ defense appeared vulnerable early, as Coronado quarterback Ashtyn Almeido completed 7 of 9 passes to start the game, including a 2-yard touchdown completion to Reagan Raimer to give her team a 6-0 lead late in the first quarter.
But Green Valley’s defense settled down in the second, and Camacho had a 5-yard TD run to tie it just before halftime.
The Gators, who dropped both of their regular-season meetings to the Cougars, dominated most of the second half.
“We had lost our last six games to them,” Torrez said. “But I thought we executed a little better tonight. They usually do a good job of taking you out of your comfort zone and making you do things you don’t want to do. But tonight we fought through that.”
Even so, the score remained tied throughout the third quarter. Camacho solved that problem with a leaping 5-yard TD reception from Jennifer Haberstock to put Green Valley ahead 13-6 with 14:40 remaining.
Torrez said the touchdown was more significant than the seven points that resulted.
“We lost to Coronado in double overtime in this same game last year,” he said. “So it was like deja vu. But tonight we got the result we wanted.”
The Cougars (16-5) mounted one last drive, marching the ball deep into Gators’ territory late in the fourth. But Green Valley intercepted Kaylin Hall’s desperation pass in the end zone with a minute remaining to secure the victory.
“She threw it up, and I thought we were overdue for an interception,” Torrez said. “I’m just glad it came at the right time.”
Camacho finished the game with 11 yards on four receptions, and she also led the defense with seven tackles.
Almeido led the Cougars, completing 13 of 22 passes for 128 yards.