By Sam Conner
The Winslow Bulldogs ended their season with a 28-7 loss to the Buckeye Hawks in the first round of the Arizona State Division IV playoffs at Winslow last Friday. The loss ended the season for the Bulldogs with a 6-5 record.
The Buckeye Hawks came from behind 7-0 after the first quarter, tied the game at 7-7 at the half, then pulled away from the Bulldogs in the second half. The first half was very close but Buckeye had an effective running attack in the second half.
The Buckeye defense was superb and held Winslow to just 42 yards rushing and 84 passing with a pair of interceptions. The Bulldogs got an early break and scored a defensive touchdown with 9:35 left in the first quarter when Akkeem Foster intercepted a Buckeye pass and returned it 37 yards for the score. Lucas Jordan converted for a 7-0 Winslow lead.
On their next possession the Bulldogs drove deep into Buckeye territory before Jordan missed a 37-yard field goal attempt. Winslow led 7-0 entering the second quarter of play.
Buckeye drove 80 yards in 11 plays and scored on an eight-yard run by Jabril Taylor with 10:19 left in the half. Omar Bautista booted the conversion to tie the score at 7-7. The rest of the first half was a defensive struggle and the teams went to the locker rooms tied at 7-7.
A pass interception by the Hawks was returned to the Winslow 32 yard line, and led to a five-yard scoring run by Taylor and a 14-7 Buckeye lead after Bautista’s conversion with 5:51 left in the third quarter.
A fumble recovery by DeAndre Miller gave the Hawks the ball at the Winslow 48 yard line and Taylor scored again on a two-yard run. The conversion by Bautista gave Buckeye a 21-7 lead with 3:38 left in the period. Buckeye recovered an on-side kickoff at the Winslow 41 yard line, but the Bulldogs held and the quarter ended with the Hawks up by that 21-7 score.
The Hawks drove 74 yards and Taylor scored on a four-yard run with just 7:51 left in the game. Bautista converted for a commanding 28-7 lead.
The Hawks got close to the Winslow goal twice more in the closing moments, but were content to run out the clock on their final possession.
Buckeye advanced to play second seeded Show Low with an 8-3 record for the season. Show Low will bring a 10-1 record to a Saturday, Nov. 10, game at Apollo High School after besting Fountain Hills 42-25 in another first round game. Other first round winners included the top seeded Blue Ridge Yellowjackets, who crushed the Globe Tigers 57-7 at Pinetop to Lakeside and now hold perfect 12-0 record. The Yellowjackets will meet the River Valley Dust Devils, 58-6 winners over the Monument Valley Mustangs at Kayenta. Monument Valley ended its season with a 9-2 record. Empire edged Estella Foothills 28-21 at Estrella Foothills and will meet the Snowflake Lobos, who bested the Payson Longhorns 43-8 at Snowflake. Those second round games will be played on Saturday at Washington High School.
The Seton Catholic Sentinels crushed the Chinle Wildcats 61-0 at Chandler to advance to the second round with a perfect 11-0 record. They will meet the Mingus Marauders, who edged the Coolidge Bears by a field goal, 17-14, at Mingus. That game will be at Apollo High School on Saturday.
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By Sam Conner