Coming off their win over Kingman Academy Aug. 31, the Parker Broncs’ varsity football team had a rough outing Sept. 7 against the Needles, Calif. Mustangs. They came out on the short end of a 38-8 score.
Coach Jeston Lotts said he knew going into this game the Mustangs would be a challenge, and added the Broncs will be a better team for having played them.
The Mustangs got things going on their first possession of the game, when they found themselves at first and goal near the Broncs’ goal line. They got a touchdown with 8:56 left in the first quarter to get on the board first. A two-point conversion attempt failed, and it was Needles 6, Parker 0.
The Broncs apparently responded with 4:11 left in the quarter when Adam Baldenegro hit his favorite touchdown pass receiver, Fabyian Gonzalez, in the end zone. However, the score was called back on a holding penalty against the Broncs.
Just over two minutes later, with 2:07 left in the quarter, the Broncs got on the board when Emanuel Alaniz carried one in from six yards out. Carlos Torres ran in the two-point conversion, and the Broncs led, 8-6.
It didn’t last. The Mustangs score two more touchdowns in the first quarter, the second one coming with barely 10 seconds left on the clock. They made the two-point conversion on the second one, and Needles led, 20-8, at the end of the first quarter.
The Mustangs scored again late in the second quarter, and increased their lead to 26-8 at half-time.
Needles kept it going in the second half, with Tyler White scoring on a 40-yard run with 7:23 left in the third quarter.
On the kick-off, Torres took the ball to their own 32-yard line, where the Broncs were at 1st and 10. Four plays later, the Broncs turned the ball over on downs on their own 39-yard line for a net loss of seven yards on the drive.
The Mustangs got on the board for the final time with 9:12 left in the game when Marcus Turner carried one in from 10 yards out. The final was Needles 38, Parker 8.
“We’ve got a lot to fix,” Lotts told his players after the game.
“We’re going to learn from this game,” Lotts said later. “We’re going to reap a lot of benefits from that game. We’re only going to get better from that game.”
Lotts said they deliberately scheduled games with tough opponents early in the season so they could learn what their weaknesses are and work on them before they being play against their 2A Verde section rivals.
“We’re going to be a better team for having played Needles,” he said.
The Broncs are now 1-2 overall. This Friday, Sept. 14, they’ll face another non-section team, the Antelope Rams of Wellton, Ariz. The Rams play in the 2A Salt region. They are 3-1 overall, having defeated Heritage Academy, Cortez and San Pasqual to start the season. They lost to Tombstone Sept. 7, 68-38.
Game time at Joe Bush Stadium is 7 p.m.