Last Friday’s sleepwalk …
By Pete Mohr | October 22, 2008
FALCON STADIUM – “The early bird gets the worm,” right? Well, on Oct. 17, “Monica Barrett Day,” the Football Falcons, depending upon where they live, got up early alright – say, not later than 5:30 a.m., to participate in welcoming Chris Perry’s production of “Game Day” for 3-TV. Some 13 1/2 hours later, the Falcon “O”, their game-day regimen (or something) out-of-whack, went back to bed, allowing the “worm” to turn into a 21-6 embarrassment by the fired-up Prescott Badgers.
After their strong first half against the SuperCats (Saguaro), were the Falcs a little overconfident? Maybe. Whatever … other than tailbacks Anthony Stephens (15 rushes for 84 yards) & Jackson Donahue (9 carries, 39 yards), wideout/ return specialist Danny Trittler, who fights, twista and jukes everytime he touches the ball, and placekicker Bryce Redmond (his 5th and 6th field goals), the Falcon “O” snoozed. In the process, they committed three costly turnovers (two INTs and a drive-ending fumble), the second pick, at 4:04 of the 4th quarter returned by Joey Mancha down the east sideline for 70 yards and a virtually-insurmountable 21-6 Badger lead.
Two turning points: the first, “Coach D’s” nomination; the second, mine. Trailing 0-7 at halftime, the ‘Birds came out smokin’, but had to settle for a 39-yard field goal by Redmond at 3:07. Back came the Badgers. Facing 4th-and-one at the Falcon 15, Prescott QB Josh Chavez spun free from an apparently-stopped wedge, then cruised left, untouched, for six at 5:23 of the 3rd: Badgers, 14 - Falcons, 3.
Trittler’s 37-yard kickoff return and four plays had their Falcs 1st-and-goal at the Badger five; but Red Zone ineptitude would ground the ‘Birds yet again. Redmond came on with a 22-yard three-pointer to make it 6-14 at 9:59. Falcs were still only a “touch” and a two-point conversion from a 14-14 tie. Ducking a touchdown “bullet” for the second time seemed to revitalize the Badger defense.
At 4:04 of the last quarter, linebacker Kenny Prodan made a “highlight film” interception that had the Falcons 1st-and-ten at the Prescott 48. Donahue burst to the 34; but on the next snap came Mancha’s interception for the “killer” touchdown.
For the Falcs, it’s on to McClintock, where they must win, then beat Apache Junction at Falcon Field on Halloween to go 5-4 before the Friday, Nov. 7 wind-up at Chaparral, Saguaro-deflated (21-0). Given their strength of schedule in 4A-I’s toughest Division (Desert Sky), a break-even 5-5 should squeak the ‘Birds into the State Playoffs, probably at #14, 15 or 16, at this writing, matching them up in the 1st Round against Saguaro (likely to remain #1-seeded), Peoria (2) or P.V. (3). The ‘Birds would relish a second shot at the Trojans.
At 3-4, with three tough games looming, the “early” ‘Birds should not be counting just yet on any Playoff “worms.” Will they “want it” badly enough? Sixteen seniors are vowing that they do. We’ll see come Friday night at McClintock. How ‘bout a big “road” crowd? Win one for Monica!
Photo: THREE FOR THREE: It takes a skilled trio for field goal attempts to be successful. (Above) Juniors long snapper Tyler Souva, holder Paul Walsh and kicker Bryce Redmond give the Falcons a valuable scoring threat, combining for six out of eight tries thus far – and perfect on all PATs.
Photo by Pete Mohr