The Maricopa High School football team wound up its season with a loss in the first round of the 5A state playoffs Friday.
The Rams (seeded 15th) lost at second-ranked Williams Field, 42-7, the second time this year they fell to the Black Hawks. But it was a different Maricopa team, missing its starting quarterback and go-to receiver. Sensing the vulnerabilities, Williams Field clamped down on other key players and limited the Rams’ effectiveness.
Junior Daxton Redfern stepped in as quarterback as senior Jordan Huddleston was still not cleared to play after a concussion last week. Senior Jacob Cowing left the game with an injury of his own after grabbing a 38-yard pass on the game’s second play from scrimmage. The Rams could never quite regroup.
“Dax played hard tonight, made some good plays and made mistakes that a lot of young quarterbacks make without a lot of experience,” head coach Brandon Harris said.
Maricopa’s bursts of momentum were often stymied by penalties or turnovers.
The Black Hawks (10-1) scored on each of their three possessions in the first quarter to jump out to 21-0 lead.
The Maricopa offensive and defensive lines showed cracks throughout the first half as Williams Field led 28-0 at the break. That became 35-0 as the Black Hawks scored on their first possession of the third quarter.
The Rams’ only score came on an eight-play drive that started on the 12 yard line in the third quarter and ended in a seven-yard touchdown pass to Isaiah Crawford at the beginning of the fourth.
After the game, Harris pulled aside the senior players, who comprised more than half the team. He told the remaining underclassmen to ask themselves who was going to step up next season to fill the vacancies.
“I’m going to work with the guys who are there,” said Harris, who was ending his first season as the Rams head coach. “I’m not going to shake trees or go around neighborhoods and trying to get kids. Whoever shows up is who we get. We’re going to work with who we got and make it work for the best.”
Maricopa ended the season 5-6 overall.