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Monsters Stomp Bears

Some nights a team can get away with mistakes, and other nights it can't. Although Eastern Arizona College fumbled the ball numerous times on Sept.2, it still beat the Phoenix Bears 30-6. The first half included a touchdown by each side and two missed extra points. The Gila Monster touchdown was a 9-yard scamper by quarterback Jawaun Luckey. For the rest of the half Eastern and Phoenix kept giving the ball back to the other team via turnover, and the halftime score was 6-6. Eastern made some adjustments in the second half and got the running game on track. Luckey broke off a 34-yard touchdown run to give Eastern a 13-6 lead. After a Carlos Encinas field goal, cornerback Brandon Stewart intercepted a Bears pass and returned it 50 yards for a score. Eastern stretched the lead to 23-6. The Gila Monster defense kept Phoenix scoreless in the second half, and running back Lamont Downing turned on the afterburners for a sensational 85-yard touchdown run to ice the game.

Eastern coach John O'Mera expressed some concern about the sloppiness of the Gila Monsters' play. He knows that sort of football is not going to fly against the number-one ranked junior college team in California next week. Eastern will host College of the Sequoias on Sept. 9, a game that was added to its schedule right before the season started. "After tonight I wonder what we did picking them up," O'Mera said. "We are in no way ready to play a football team like that." O'Mera had to make some adjustments at the half to get the offense going. "There's no doubt we made a lot of adjustments at halftime," he said. "They (Phoenix) came out with a good game plan. They stacked their linebackers and had us rattled for the first half." O'Mera said his team started to bounce the ball outside more in the second half instead of running it up the middle. He also talked about wasting two offensive players on one Phoenix linebacker in the early part of the game. Eastern let the halfback and fullback take on each linebacker one-on-one in the second half, which led to some big gains on the ground.

The Gila Monsters rushed for 252 yards in the game and had the edge in total yards-307-159. Downing was the leading rusher for Eastern with 107 yards on just five carries. Phoenix quarterback Josh Schlueter completed 10 of 20 passes for 107 yards with one touchdown and one interception. The defense once again proved to be the strength of the team. One week after shutting out the Prescott Cardinals, Eastern held the Bears to just six points and 45 yards rushing.

Story written by Brian Wright at the Eastern Arizona Courier (428-2560 ext. 235 or sportsguy@eacourier.com)