Coming off a solid 42-0 win over Scottsdale Christian Academy the week before, the Lions came into the game with winning on their mind – and a win is what they got as they handily beat the Santa Cruz Dust Devils 62-0 on Friday evening.
Leading the offense for the Lions was quarterback Jacob Frithsen who within the first 10 minutes of the first quarter completed a pass to wide receiver Aaron Penazek to put the first points on the scoreboard. Penazek also added a field goal kick to put the Lions up 7-0.
Santa Cruz, in turn, tried to respond but was shut down by the Lions’ defense and had to punt at their own 40-yard line. The Lions wasted no time in attacking the Santa Cruz defense as Tyler Overstreet carried the ball for 18 yards to gain the first down. Three plays later wide receiver Ben Walker scored on a 20-yard touchdown pass from Frithsen.
“It was nice being able to pass the ball and get the wide receivers involved early on,” said Frithsen. “They just caught well all night.”
The Lions took advantage of their offensive openings as Walker caught a short 5-yard pass and Fitzgerald scored on a 60-yard punt return – giving them a sizeable lead as the first quarter came to a close.
The second quarter continued to be no contest for the Lions as they steam-rolled over the Santa Cruz defense by scoring three more touchdowns and shutting down their offense by allowing them to gain only eight yards the entire quarter. With a sizeable lead, Head Coach Troy Cropp took the opportunity to put some of his younger players in.
“We had a high level of rotation most of the game,” said Cropp. “It helped because the guys then want the younger guys to do better out there and do well.”
The Dust Devils continued to struggle as their first possession in the second half resulted in a fumble – leading to a Lions possession on the 37-yard line and a touchdown less than five minutes later. Finishing out the third quarter the Lions increased their lead to 56-0.
Starting out the fourth quarter the Dust Devils took possession at the 20-yard line but on fourth down had to resort to punting to the Lions. With 3:45 left in the quarter the Dust Devils made their first down of the game after an 11-yard throw from quarterback Hector Hermosillo to running back Marcos Castillo. The Dust Devils kicked their last punt – one that proved to only once again help the Lions.
Freshmen Edwin Lovett returned the kick for a 60-yard touchdown to finish off the game with a 62-0 win for the Lions.
“The game went great and everyone performed well,” said Frithsen looking back on the team’s performance. “I’m just now looking forward to beating San Tan down the road and then winning state.”
The Lions finished the game with 250 running yards and 52 passing yards while increasing their winning record to 3-1. Their next game will be against Baboquivari High School whose record is 0-4.
Santa Cruz competes against Imagine Prep Coolidge in hopes of improving their current 0-4 record.