The Parker Broncs varsity football team got their first win of the 2018 season when they defeated the Kingman Academy Tigers, 34-26, the evening of Aug. 31 at Joe Bush Stadium. They did it the hard way, overcoming a 15-point deficit at half-time and winning the game in overtime.
The Broncs got on the board first with 4:31 left in the first quarter, as quarterback Adam Baldenegro tossed a pass to Fabyian Gonzalez. This came after a drive that saw strong runs from Christian Lopez and Emanuel Alaniz. This was the Broncs’ first score of the season, as they had been shut out the week before in Wickenburg.
The second quarter belonged to the Tigers, especially quarterback Dallas Edwards and wide receiver Nate Perea. Edwards hit Perea for three touchdown passes in the quarter, including one that went for 54 yards. The final touchdown came with just 27.3 second left in the first half. The extra point attempt was good on all three touchdowns, as the Tigers led, 21-6, at half-time.
The third quarter saw the Broncs taking things up a notch. On two occasions, they were at firs down-and-goal, but the Tigers’ defense held both times and the Broncs turned over the ball on downs. On the first play after the second turnover, the Broncs got something for their efforts as they tackled a Kingman Academy player in the end zone for a safety. The third quarter ended with the Broncs again deep in Tiger territory and Kingman Academy leading, 21-8.
That safety may have been for just two points, but it would prove to be crucial for what happened in the fourth quarter.
The third attempt deep in Tiger territory proved to be a charm for the Broncs as they scored a touchdown just eight seconds into the fourth quarter. The two-point conversion attempt failed, and the score was Kingman Academy 21, Parker 14.
On the first play after the kickoff, the Broncs’ Christian Lopez intercepted a pass and gave possession back to the Broncs. With 8:09 left in regulation time, Baldenegro again hit Gonzalez with a pass for a touchdown. The Broncs’ two-point conversion attempt failed, but they now trailed the Tigers by one point, 21-20.
The combination of Edwards and Perea struck once again with 5:39 left as they completed their fourth touchdown play of the night for the Tigers. Charlie Anderson kicked the extra point and the Tigers increased their lead to 28-20.
The Broncs came right back and again got the ball to first down and goal. They got the ball into the end zone when Alaniz ran it in from four yards out with 3:50 left on the clock. This time, the two-point conversion attempt was good as Carlos Torres ran it in. The score was tied, 28-28.
With 1:51 left, Parker’s Jake Hill intercepted a pass from Edwards, but the Broncs were not able to score. The Broncs turned the ball over on downs on the Tigers’ 19-yard line with 39.1 seconds left. The Tigers weren’t able to score, and regulation time ended with the score tied, 28-28.
The officials decided to have each team play for four downs from the 10-yard line, with the first team that scored winning the game. On the Tigers’ first play, Hill again intercepted a pass and possession went to the Broncs. Two plays later, Torres ran the ball in to give the Broncs the win.
Broncs’ Head Coach Jeston Lotts said the Broncs didn’t give up, and the team was challenged by the Tigers. He added they got to see something of what they are made of.
“We saw something we can really build on,” he said.
Lotts praised Lopez, Alaniz and Torres for how they ran the ball. He also praised Jake Hill for his defensive work, particularly the two interceptions.
“They did a great job,” he said.
The Broncs are now 1-1 overall, and the Arizona Interscholastic Association has them in third in the 2A Verde Region. Trivium Prep is first with a 1-0 record in the region and a 3-0 record overall. Camp Verde and Tonopah Valley are tied for second with 1-1 records, but they both have a win in region play. The Broncs have yet to play any of their region opponents. Glendale Prep is in last place with a 0-1 record in the region and 0-3 overall.
This Friday, Sept. 7, the Broncs will face another non-region opponent, the Needles, Calif. Mustangs. While they are in California, Needles competes in Nevada athletics due to their remote location. They also play Arizona schools. As of Aug. 31, they were 1-1, having defeated River Valley of Mohave Valley, 34-12, and losing to Phoenix Christian, 42-22. Their first region game, against Mountain View Christian of Las Vegas, was scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 1.
Lotts said the Mustangs are a well-coached team with some quality players.
“They’re very, very good,” he said. “They will be another challenge.”
Game time at Joe Bush stadium is 7 p.m.