Pumphrey, Pioneers shrug off error-prone start to down Rams

Canyon Springs had 178 yards of total offense at halftime Thursday night but only six points to show for it after three turnovers, including two deep in Rancho territory.

The Pioneers righted themselves on the first three possessions of the second half, taking control for a 26-6 over the host Rams.

“I’m disappointed because we got in our own way,” Canyon Springs coach Hunkie Cooper said. “We turned the ball over and got off to a slow start. But our guys battled. We made mistakes but we found a way to win.”

Junior Donnel Pumphrey, who rushed for 259 yards and two touchdowns, posted his second score on a 69-yard breakaway that gave the 10th-ranked Pioneers a 12-0 lead midway through the third quarter.

Canyon Springs took advantage of the Rams’ 18-yard punt from their end zone, and the Pioneers scored two plays later on a 17-yard run by sophomore Rayshawn Henderson.

“When you give them a short field and they’ve got a guy (Pumphrey) like they’ve got, that makes it tough,” Rancho coach Elvin Dick said. 

The Pioneers (4-2, 4-0 Northeast) made it 26-0 with 7:01 to play when junior quarterback Kevion Glenn hit junior Michael Gayden with a 63-yard touchdown pass.

“When we can open up the run, it opens other opportunities,” Cooper said of the scoring pass.

After marching into Canyon Springs territory four times and coming up empty, the Rams (2-4, 2-2) got on the board with 5:06 left when quarterback Will Gosse-Gardet tossed a 33-yard TD pass to Joel Fluhrer. Gosse-Gardet threw for 176 yards.

“We didn’t execute when we needed to,” Dick said. “We got two turnovers early in the game and didn’t capitalize.”

Pumphrey, who also kicked two extra points, had given Canyon Springs a 6-0 lead early in the second quarter on a 52-yard sprint down the left sideline.

“Pumphrey is great,” Cooper said. “He is the real deal. He is going to be playing on Saturdays one day. No doubt about it. He’s an amazing kid.”

Despite the early mistakes, Cooper saw improvement as his team extended its winning streak to four games.

“Our goal is to be 1-0 every week,” Cooper said. “If we continue to improve, we can win our division, make the playoffs, and give us the opportunity to play for a state championship.

“Once they realize how good they can be, it’s going to be a great day at Canyon Springs.”