Scoring six touchdowns, the Maricopa High School football team won its first game of the season 45-13 over Willow Canyon Friday.
The Rams racked up 498 yards, 299 in a passing yards accumulated by quarterbacks Alec Smith and Devin Parady. The offensive and defensive lines made an obvious impact from the start, the O-line helping Maricopa to score on its first two possessions while the defense stifled the Wildcats.
Cameron Sanders, Kemo Akins and Jacob Cowing combined for the Rams touchdowns, with Cowing rushing and receiving to score.
“I think Cowing is an All-State caliber type kid, and they’re giving him one-on-one matchups, and our quarterbacks know what to do when that happens,” head coach Chris McDonald said.
Willow Canyon, a 5A team from the Northwest Region, found most of its effectiveness in the air, with 201 passing yards, but never threatened Maricopa. The Rams had the Wildcat offense under pressure all game. Junior tackle Tylen Coleman in particular seemed to be all over Willow Canyon quarterback Brendan Haynes to the point that McDonald was surprised he was still standing at the end of the game.
“The defense played awesome. For the most part they kept them off the scoreboard. They were put in two different situations in bad field positions where they had to respond, and the they did,” McDonald said.
Maricopa scored three touchdowns in the second quarter. It was 24-0 nothing before Willow Canyon got on the board with a passing play, but the Rams came right back with a 52-yard pass from Smith to Cowing to lead 31-6 at the half.
The Rams held Willow Canyon scoreless in the third while getting another rushing touchdown from Akins. In the fourth, Cowing ran in Maricopa’s final touchdown at the 5:20 mark to put the game away.
“It was a great team win, a really good team win,” head coach Chris McDonald said.
“Obviously we’ve got to clean some things up. We were misaligned at times,” McDonald said. He also wasn’t happy with the kickoff unit, which he called inconsistent.
Maricopa now prepares for Paradise Valley, a 5A Northwest Valley team that lost its season-opener to Verrado, 54-28. The game is in Paradise Valley at 7 p.m.