|Senior running back Anthony Broyles during a recent game. In his latest game, against North High School, Broyles scored one of Mingus Unionís five touchdowns. VVN/Travis Guy|
It may have taken most of the month of September, but the Mingus Union football team picked up its first win of the season, a 33-6 drubbing of the North High School Mustangs.
"It feels really good," said senior quarterback Micah Nevarez. "Mingus is known to be winning, like our past, and normally we just kill everyone. And for us to be seniors and not have those first three wins it's hard. But then coach also told us that even the past two teams that came would have trouble with those teams also, so it makes us feel a little better."
Nevarez was able to return to form for the night, hitting 5-of-9 passes for 101 yards and one touchdown. The score, a 40-yard bomb to senior wide receiver Jesse Rios, was the receiver's first score for the season. Rios ended the game with three receptions for 86-yards, bringing his season total to 202 yards in four games.
"It felt amazing, I mean, it was long over due," Rios said.
Nevarez was happy to connect with his receiver, especially following his dismal 2-for-7 passing and 31 yards and two interceptions against Paradise Valley.
"It was real good because in our last game, I didn't get to him as much as I wanted, I think I only had one completion, and he's like my go-to guy," Nevarez said. "If I don't have anyone to go to, I like to go to him and he makes big plays, and I got him late in the game for another deep pass, it was really nice, it was good."
The Marauder's passing game complimented their running attack, which has steadily improved with each game. Mingus rolled up 257 yards on 40 carries, and were led by senior Dakota Hanks and his two touchdowns from 13 carries and 141 yards. Nevarez and senior Anthony Broyles added the other two touchdowns of the game for the Marauders.
"It's just us getting better at blocking, the line and the backs both," said head coach Bob Young. "They both have to be able to block in our scheme. We had some openings and when we run the ball, usually we do fairly well with our offense."
Defensively, the Marauders had their best showing of the season. They tallied four sacks for 32-yards lost, two interceptions, two fumbles caused (one recovered) and five passes defended.
"The defense, we had three turnovers, four sacks and we had two goal-line stands, the defense did a lot of things well," Young said. If you can shore up a little bit of that tackling, the defense is getting better."
Hanks and junior Herb Tiffany led the defense in tackles, both recording 12. As a team, the Marauders tallied 88 tackles. Despite the number, Young said that tackling is something that his team needs to improve, and his players agreed with him.
"We've got to work a lot more on tackling, as coach Young told us, because lot of the time we just went with one arm and the guy just slid by," Nevarez said. "But other than that, I feel they did really good."
Going into the game, the Marauders knew they had to get a win. It may sound cliché, but it was one of those games that would show the type of team Young has on his hands. If they went out and lost, that could be signaling an end to the season. Instead of lying down, the boys made a statement from the opening kick off.
"The mentality of the team was like, we had to get a win to help us get our confidence," said senior defensive back Felix Vera. "We had to come out strong, starting off with special teams, and once we got that kickoff going, after play-after-play, Micah had the team going pretty good, so after that he helped us out and pumped us up."
Nevarez agreed, saying that the team had a chip on its shoulder going into the game.
"We really wanted to win, but then we also found out they scheduled us for their homecoming, so that put another edge on our shoulder," the senior shot caller said. "So, we really wanted to come out and show them we're still Mingus football. Yeah, we've had a couple bad games, but we're still going to come out and we're still going to work as hard as we can and make plays and get big wins like that."
Now the Marauders prepare for the Bradshaw Mountain Bears. The Bears are 3-1, compared to the Marauders' 1-3. Bradshaw is coming off a 31-14 win over Kingman.
"It was nice to win a game," Young said. "When you lose three games in a row, you start to questions some of the things you are doing, but it was good to get that monkey off our back."