Maricopa High School opened the varsity football season with zip, with quarterback Daxton Redfern connecting Ilijah Johnson for scoring touchdowns three times in defeating McClintock 33-22 Friday.
The game had all the earmarks of a first game, with miscues by players and referees alike. But Maricopa scored in every quarter and mostly dominated the Chargers.
The up-and-down nature of the quality of play was a learning lesson, head coach Brandon Harris said, as many of the Rams had not started varsity before.
“We were confident. We had a good game plan and we executed it mostly,” Harris said. “I thought our defense played extremely well. We held them for the better part of three quarters to two points.”
McClintock had its only lead after an early safety, but the Rams came back quickly as Redfern hit Johnson, who executing some fancy running to take it into the end zone.
Three minutes later, Johnson took another Redfern pass 32 yards for another touchdown. Despite a blocked point after, Maricopa was up 13-2.
Junior Tylek Mooney, playing both ways on the night, took an interception 70 yards for a touchdown in the second quarter, and Maricopa led 19-3.
The Rams were limited to a field goal in the third while the defense continued to put up a wall. McClintock came through with its first touchdown with just 27 seconds left in the quarter.
At the top of the fourth, Redfern again found Johnson for a touchdown, with Redfern keeping the ball himself for the two-point conversion. After the Chargers scored from the 4, Maricopa responded with another field goal.
While the Rams were getting more players into the game for some playing time, McClintock scored a final touchdown in the final two minutes.
Maricopa worked to reinvigorate its running game in the fourth quarter, getting running room for junior Mister Chavis. Harris said he liked the resiliency he saw from his players and was happy with their conditioning, which held up on a warm and humid night.
Next up, the Rams host Millennium Aug. 30 at 7 p.m.
Maricopa 292 McClintock 352
Daxton Redfern, Maricopa 14-for-19, 149 yards, 3 touchdowns
Xavier Venitez, McClintock 13-for-30, 233 yards, 1 touchdown
Mister Chavis, Maricopa 24 carries, 126 yards
Jaden Mason, McClintock 23 carries, 110 yards, 2 touchdowns
Ilijah Johnson, Maricopa 5 catches, 84 yards, 3 touchdowns
Bryce Tate, McClinock 7 catches, 104 yards
Maricopa: Patrick Garcia 14, Anthony Valenzuela 9
McClintock: David Cisneros 10, David Felix 10
Maricopa: Quintone Green-Seabrooks 2
McClintock: Kerrion Dates 1, Scott Jones 1
Maricopa: Tylek Mooney 1 (touchdown)
Maricopa: Roberto Esqueda 1 PAT, 2 FG
McClintock: Felipe Sanchez 2 PAT