By Greg Perkins–
Snowflake’s Lobos were on the road for the third consecutive week on Friday, where they met up with the Mingus Marauders in Cottonwood. Mingus is a young team that has been improving each week since the beginning of the season, and gave the Lobos all they wanted before they came away with a 32-29 win.
Things looked good early for the Lobos, who took just over two minutes to score. Braccin Tanner scored on a seven-yard run in the opening minutes and Hunter Farr’s point after kick gave the team a 7-0 lead. After the Lobo defense forced a three and out by Mingus, Ty Reidhead returned the punt 36 yards for a second touchdown and Snowflake appeared to be rolling toward another easy win.
Carlos Abrigo put the home team on the board with a 47-yard run, trimming Snowflake’s lead to 13-7 near the end of the first period. Inside the final minute, Chase Walden and Jake Shumway hooked up on a big 79-yard catch and run for the Lobos’ third touchdown. Farr’s point after ended an exciting first quarter with the Lobos on top 20-7.
The Marauders were the only team to score in the second period when Abrigo broke free for a 37-yard run to pay dirt. The successful point after kick left the Lobos with a 20-14 halftime lead.
That lead vanished midway through the third quarter when Luke Simmons connected with Alex Brewer on a 23-yard touchdown pass. Andrew Hickey’s extra point kick gave Mingus its first lead of the game. That lead held up for just over three minutes until Walden capped a Snowflake scoring drive with a three-yard run to the end zone with 3:44 left in the quarter. Following a Mingus turnover a little less than two minutes later, Walden connected with Brit Smith for an 81-yard touchdown pass and catch. The conversion failed, but the Lobos went to the fourth quarter on top 32-21.
Early in the fourth, Mingus kept the home fans happy when Abrigo scored on a 79-yard run for his third TD of the game. He also ran in the two-point conversion, making it a three-point game at 32-29.
The teams battled back and forth and exchanged turnovers, but in the end the Lobos held on for the three-point win, pushing their overall record to 8-1.
Walden had a big night throwing the ball, as he completed 12 of 24 passes for 265 yards with a pair of touchdowns and two picks. Dallin Merrell made good on his only pass attempt for 21 yards. Smith caught four passes for 133 yards. Shumway had three grabs good for 92 yards. Tanner caught two for 37. Doug Brimhall had one catch for 14 yards, and Merrell had three grabs for 10 yards.
On the ground the Lobos racked up 109 yards led by Walden with 64 on 24 carries. Tyler Johnson returned to the Lobo backfield three runs for a total of 25 yards. Smith gained 13 yards on six carries. Tanner had three runs for six yards. Josh Kelley ran once for one yard.
Reidhead and Merrell led the defense with six tackles each. Shumway, Garett Hunt, Devon Tafoya and Forrest Touchstone each had five tackles. Touchstone also had two quarterback sacks and Hunt had one. Smith and Josie Dunn each had interceptions, and five players recovered fumbles, including Shumway, Walden, Smith, Hunt and Touchstone.
With the win the Lobos improved to 8-1 and moved to second in power points. If they can get past Safford at home on Senior Night, Friday, Oct. 28, they will head to the playoffs as one of the favorites for the title game along with Blue Ridge. Safford comes into the game just 3-6 on the season and should not give the Lobos much of a challenge in the regular season finale. Snowflake will host a first round game in the Division IV playoffs in two weeks.