The Parker Broncs football team started their new season Aug. 19 against the Florence Gophers. The Broncs’ first game of the season, along with their first game in their new conference, didn’t quite go as was hoped. They fell to the Gophers, 33-28.
The Gophers won in spectacular fashion. After being behind for most of the game, they scored the winning touchdown when quarterback Loren Stenson carried the ball in from five yards out with just 40.1 seconds left in the game.
The game also had some interesting moments. One play in the second quarter saw the officials changing the minds twice. The Broncs believed they had recovered a fumble, but the officials said no. After some discussion, the officials said Parker had recovered a fumble. Then, after further discussion, the officials reversed themselves and said the Broncs hadn’t recovered a fumble.
The weather also was involved in the game. Threatening clouds could be seen in the distance from Joe Bush Stadium for much of the game. In the fourth quarter, high winds and dust blew onto the field as the Arizona monsoon decided to make its presence known.
The Broncs scored first, with Damien Najera grabbing a fumble and carrying the ball in on only the second play of the game. The extra point was good, and the Broncs led 7-0.
The Gophers responded a short time later, when Joshua Jackson carried the ball in from one yard out with 9:13 left in the quarter. The kick was good for the extra point, and the score was tied, 7-7.
The Broncs scored three more touchdowns in the first half, two from Thaddeus Nopah and one from Gage Honomichl. Jackson scored another touchdown for the Gophers on a 48-yard run with 5:22 left in the half. The Broncs led at half-time, 28-14.
In the second half, the Gophers’ defense held off the Broncs’ offense while the Florence offense chipped away at the Broncs’ lead. Jackson scored two touchdowns in the third quarter. Their attempt at a two-point conversion following the second touchdown was no good, and the Broncs led at the end of three quarters, 28-27.
The Gophers pushed hard in the fourth quarter, but the Broncs held them off until the final minute of play. After reaching first and goal, Stenson carried in his winning touchdown with just 0ver 40 seconds left in regulation play.
Broncs’ Coach Jeff Wheatley said this was good experience for the team’s young players.
“We came out strong, but we didn’t finish the way we wanted to,” he said. “They’ll learn a lot from this game. We just have to keep going and keep getting better.”
The Broncs are now 0-1 overall and 0-1 against 3A teams. They’re in fourth place in the 3A West. This Friday, Aug. 26, they’ll head to Phoenix to play the Bourgade Catholic Golden Eagles. The Golden Eagles lost their Aug. 19 season opening to the River Valley Dust Devils, 25-13, at the Anderson Auto Group Fieldhouse in Bullhead City.
The Broncs’ next home game will be Friday, Sept. 16, when they take on the Wickenburg Wranglers at 7 p.m. This is the annual Battle for the Axe, and it will also be their first game against one of their 3A West region rivals.
In other La Paz County football news, the Salome Frogs won their season opener Friday, Aug. 19 in Salome. They defeated the Tempe Prep Knights, 30-0. The Frogs are now 1-0 and in first place in the 1A West. They’ll be at home again Friday, Aug. 26, when they play the Lincoln Prep Lightning. In their opener Aug. 19, Lincoln Prep defeated the Desert Heights Prep Academy Coyotes, 62-24. Game time is 7 p.m.
3A West standings, Aug. 21
Teams are listed by record against region rivals, record in 3A conference and overall record. Tie-breakers are explained following the records.
Chino Valley: 0-0, 1-0, 1-0; tied for first
Kingman: 0-0, 1-0, 1-0; tied for first
River Valley: 0-0, 1-0, 1-0; tied for first
PARKER: 0-0, 0-1, 0-1; tied for fourth
Wickenburg: 0-0, 0-1, 0-1; tied for fourth
Yuma: 0-0, 0-1, 0-1; tied for fourth
Mohave: Have not started season yet.
1A West standings, Aug. 21
Teams are listed by record against region rivals, record in 1A conference and overall record. Tie-breakers are explained following the records.
SALOME: 0-0, 1-0, 1-0; in first place due to 1-0 record in 1A
Bagdad: 0-0, 0-0, 1-0; in second place due to 1-0 overall record
Anthem Prep: 0-0, 0-1. 0-1; tied for third
Desert Heights Prep Academy: 0-0, 0-1, 0-1; tied for third
Mohave Accelerated: 0-0, 0-1, 0-1; tied for third