|The Marauders junior varsity squad, which practices with the varsity team and head coach Bob Young considers another varsity team, poses after beating Coconino and finishing the season undefeated at 9–0. VVN/Travis Guy|
As the Marauders' varsity football team attempts to cap off what has been a complete 180 for the year, the junior varsity squad recently put the finishing touches on a perfect season with a 13-8 win over Coconino.
Going into the squad's final game of the year, against Coconino High School, the Marauders knew what was on the line. Up to that point, the boys were 8-0.
"We got a lot of young guys, our freshmen went 7-2, they won their last seven games," said head coach Bob Young. "These guys did a nice job. We don't really have a JV team we just play JV games. I don't even consider it a JV team, because they practice varsity."
A win against the Panthers would put give the JV team an unbeaten year, a loss would leave them with a blemish to bother them for the next 10 months.
The Panthers put up a fight. They held the Marauders scoreless through the first quarter and even forced some three-and-outs. The scoring sequence came as the clock would down in the first. With 45 seconds remaining in the opening stanza, Coconino fumbled the ball and Mingus Union recovered it. The Marauders marched down the field and found the end zone, putting them up 7-0.
The boys were able to score once more before the break, going into half time up 13-0.
After the break, a Coconino interception setup the Panthers only scoring drive of the game. The visitors went for the 2-point conversion after scoring the touchdown and got it, narrowing Mingus' lead to 13-8.
Up by five with about four minutes remaining, Mingus Union made its final drive up field. They got into field goal range and kicked, but the Panthers were able to block the 3-point attempt.
Starting at the halfway point of the field, the Panthers were on the verge of being forced to punt the ball, but a huge throw gave them the first down and prime field position.
That is when the defense stepped up and held the Panthers, who were not able to convert on fourth down and turned the ball over with 11 seconds. The Marauders lined up in a victory formation, snapped the ball and took a knee, sealing the win and their perfect season.
The game was not without its challenges for the Marauders. The JV boys were working without their quarterback they had all year, he was called up to varsity to help on the defense, and in the game with the Panthers, they were essentially playing against the varsity squad. None of this hindered the boys.
"Our sophomore quarterback (Jordan Upham), actually he's up on varsity right now playing defense, and then our freshman quarterback ended up quarterbacking JV the last couple of games," Young said. "They're both really good, so I'm excited about both of them. We've got some running backs coming back; it's going to come down to the line of scrimmage again. We've got to retool the offensive line and get better.
"I consider these guys varsity, they practice varsity all year," Young said. "They should be, they should be able to compete with these guys, they're just a little bit younger."