By Sam Conner
The Bulldogs defeated the Sahuarita Mustangs 38-14 in a Division IV playoff game Saturday at Emil Nasser Stadium in Winslow. The win improved Winslow’s record to 8-3 for the season and earned the Bulldogs a berth in the next round on Saturday, Nov. 16, against Seton Catholic in Chandler. Sahuarita ended its season with a 7-4 record.
The Bulldogs were impressive as they held Sahuarita to just 43 yards rushing and intercepted two Mustang passes. Kelly Wood rushed for 236 yards as the Winslow offense controlled the game
The Bulldogs drove 64 yards on their opening possession only to be stopped inside the Mustang one yard line. The Winslow defense got the first score of the game on Sahuarita’s first play from scrimmage when Austin Maddox and others stopped the running back in the end zone for a safety and a 2-0 lead with 8:26 left in the first quarter.
The Bulldogs took the kickoff following the safety and drove 59 yards to the one yard line again, where Wood scored on a one-yard run. Rodney Davis booted the conversion for a 9-0 lead with 4:32 left in the quarter.
The Bulldog defense held Sahuarita on a fourth and short yardage to go, and took the ball over at the 46 yard line. Winslow drove to the shadow of the goalpost, where Davis booted a 27-yard field goal for a 12-0 lead with just half a minute left in the first quarter.
Sahuarita lost a fumble on the kickoff, giving Winslow the ball at the Mustang 14 yard line. The first quarter ended with the Bulldogs leading 12-0 and threatening to score again.
Wood scored from the six yard line with 11:11 left in the half. The conversion failed and Winslow led 18-0.
James Martinez passed nine yards to Demetrius Gamez for a score the next time the Bulldogs had the ball. The conversion failed and Winslow led 24-0 with 6:26 still left in the half.
Martinez intercepted a Mustang pass and ran to the Sahuarita 36 yard line. He then passed 13 yards to Davis for the touchdown. Nick Thomas booted the conversion for a 31-0 lead with just 1:44 left in the half. Winslow intercepted a pass near the end of the half, which ended with the Bulldogs leading 31-0.
The Bulldogs got the only score of the third quarter on a nice drive and a 28-yard run by Wood. Thomas converted for a 38-0 lead with just four minutes to go in the third period.
Sahuarita finally got on the scoreboard midway through the final period on a nine-yard pass from Rocko Vega to Milo Fragoso. Carlos Lopez converted to cut the Winslow lead to 38-7.
Minutes later Vega ran 15 yards for the second touchdown for the Mustangs. Lopez booted the conversion to bring the final score to 38-14.
The Bulldogs will play the Seton Catholic Sentinels at Chandler at 6 p.m. on Saturday. Seton Catholic defeated Combs 55-17 in their first round playoff game to improve to 10-1 for the season. Against common opponents both teams lost to Snowflake, Winslow 21-6 and Seton Catholic 28-23. Seton Catholic beat Estrella Foothills 38-20 while Winslow lost to Estrella Foothills 42-27 in a game where injuries hurt the Bulldogs considerably.
In other Division IV playoff games, Safford defeated Estrella Foothills 49-42 in a very close game, one of the few contests won by the visiting team. The Lobos defeated Rio Rico 50-20 at Snowflake. The Cougars topped Payson 39-6 at Show Low. The Blue Ridge Yellowjackets cruised past Monument Valley 59-7 in Lakeside. The Bears edged Fountain Hills 37-34 at Coolidge in the closest game of the night. River Valley pounded the visiting Page Sand Devils, 75-7.
Other Saturday contests include Safford at Show Low, Coolidge at Blue Ridge and River Valley at Snowflake, in what may be the most difficult game to predict.
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By Sam Conner