COTTONWOOD - Continuing a trend, the Marauders football team extended the winning streak to six and beat the Payson Longhorns, 54-0, Friday night on Bright Field. Tyler Herndon rushed for 128 yards with three touchdowns and Alex Brewer caught four passes for 99 yards and two touchdowns.
Ten Marauders got a chance to run the ball for a total of 331 yards rushing. Four receivers caught passes for Luke Simmons who accumulated 147 yards on 11 attempts.
Mingus' defense gave Payson's quarterback nowhere to run and little time to throw, basically the same routine the last six weeks.
At some point in the second quarter Payson started playing in desperation, referenced by an unsuccessful fake punt attempt from around their own 35 yard line.
Mingus won the turnover battle 5-1. Defensive lineman Jordan Welborn recovered a fumble and snagged an interception. On the fumble recovery his helmet popped off, but he kept running for nine yards with his red hair shimmering as several Longhorns tried to take him down.
"When the adrenaline is going, it just takes over and you run on instinct," said Welborn after the game.
Friday night was the second shutout for Mingus, a team allowing just 8.5 points per game.
"Coach Harms does a really good job of preparing us. This week we had a homework assignment, we had to take home a packet and everybody had to write in our defensive assignments. He makes sure everybody knows their jobs, and we don't give up when we make a mistake. Anytime something goes wrong, we're always looking forward to the next play," Welborn said.
Senior Zach Pelletier leads the defense with five sacks -- he got one against Payson. He also blocked a punt against the Longhorns, his second of the season.
"He's quick and we scheme," said Mingus head coach Bob Young. "Every week we have a certain area that we attack -- him and Brennan Kitchen, they're our two guys that go after punts, and we work hard at it because it's a big game changer."
Kitchen was right next to Pelletier when he made the block; it looked as if Pelletier wasn't able to make the block, Kitchen would have been able to block it too.
Kitchen leads the team with 15 solo tackles and is second in total tackles only to senior middle linebacker Josh Longfellow.
The most points any team has scored against Mingus: Coconino last week with 17. The next challenge for the Marauders is Prescott, a team with a 5-2 record and Brady Mengarelli, a senior runner with over 1,400 rushing yards and 20 touchdowns already this season. If you add up the yards from Mingus' top three runners, it's still not as much as Mengarelli.
"I know Prescott has had a great season. Offensively, they're scoring a lot of points and their running back is getting a lot of things done, so it's going to be a tough game," said Young.
That one will be in Prescott Friday at 7 p.m.
Note: Anthony Broyles returned from a torn ACL, but went down with about a minute left and didn't get up on his own power. It appears he'll need surgery and rehab to prepare for next year, his senior season.