Gila Monsters Top Snow
Thatcher, AZ --
Playing for pride, looking for a winning season record and a chance at a home postseason game or two, the Gila Monsters stepped up against the Badgers Saturday night at John T. Mickelson Field. Eastern Arizona College (3-4) defeated Snow College (1-6), 35-28. “The key for us tonight was athletes making big plays,” EAC head coach John O’Mera said. “There was a bunch of guys who came through.”
The Badgers scored first with 11:24 on the game clock on a 5-yard pass from Crosby Jenson to Daniel Palepoi. The Gila Monsters got their first big play of the night with 7:32 on the clock, when running back Serge Trezy broke for a 54-yard gallop for the score. Nathan Pierpont kicked the extra point to even it up at 7-7. “I have to give it up to the offensive line,” Trezy said. “I saw the huge hole open up and I hit it at full speed.”
The second big play of the night came from Monsters defensive back Bernard Thomas, who grabbed a tipped Jensen pass for an interception in the second quarter. The third big play, after Eastern wasn’t able to capitalize on the interception, was a front line defensive stop of the Badgers on the 11-yard line on fourth down, allowing Eastern to take over on downs, deep in Badger territory. “This was a good team win,” coach O’Mera said. “Our defense bent but did not break.”
The Monsters started to march the ball downfield again and had their fourth big play of the night when Ker Sean Wilson threw the deep middle post to wide receiver Hunter Udall for a 55-yard touchdown to go up 14-7 after the kick from Pierpont. “It was exciting, a good throw,” Udall said. “We don’t throw that much and it was clean.”
Late in the first half, the fifth big play from the Monsters came from defensive back Chris Sanders, who snagged another tipped Jensen pass on the 30-yard line and ran it in for the score to make it 21-7, after the Pierpont kick with 1:12 left. Snow had a big play midway through third quarter. It covered a blocked punt on the 26-yard line setting up a short pass from Jensen for the touchdown. That closed the gap to 21-14 with 7:17 on the clock.
Less than two minutes later, the Monsters had their sixth big play of the night. Wilson kept the ball and went down the sideline for a 70 yard run to make it 28-14 with 5:29 on the clock after the Pierpont kick. After a long possession into the fourth quarter, Snow scored again on a 6 yard run from Stanley Ferguson to close again 28-21. Then Snow came back with a long possession and finished with a 12-yard pass from Jensen to Tyler Barron to tie it up 28-28. But the Gila Monsters answered with their seventh big play of the night on a 46 yard halfback pass and touchdown from Rudy Verdugo to Brice Queener with 5:14 on the clock to make it 35-28 after the kick.
It was the eighth big play of the night that would secure the win for the Monsters. With Snow on the 12 yard line, but fourth down with 2:12 left in the game, Thomas grabbed his second interception of the night and fifth for the season. He ran it out to the 34-yard line ending any hopes of Snow chances to score again. “I was right in position because of the defensive call,” Thomas said. “I knew I had to make it (the catch) and I did it.”
Scottsdale beat New Mexico Military Institute, 77-56, Saturday to end Eastern’s chance to make into the top four for the WSFL playoff championship bracket. “We’ve got a shot at two home playoff games, fifth place in the conference and a winning season,” O’Mera said. “Next we have our first afternoon game at Pima. And they are no longer the doormat of the conference.”
Last summer the WSFL in a coaches meeting decided to make scheduling changes. “We all had problems filling early season nonconference games,” O’Mera said. “This set up it is like getting a bowl game for us.”
Eastern Arizona College plays Pima Community College (3-3) at 1:30 p.m. in Tucson on Saturday, Oct. 12. Pima beat Glendale, 33-17, Saturday night. Eastern will travel to El Paso, TX on Monday, October 21st, to play Sol Ross University in a non-conference game.
WSFL Playoffs begin October 26th and finish November 9th.
By Jay David Murphy firstname.lastname@example.org
Eastern Arizona Courier