Maricopa High’s football team raised its home record to 3-0 this season, 3-2 overall, as it rallied for a 28-21 victory over the Ravens from Empire High School Friday evening.
It took a while for the Rams to get on track, but the second half running game, led by senior Matt Fierros and junior Blake Schwanbeck, was too much for the Ravens.
Fierros (260 yards) and Schwanbeck accounted for four rushing touchdowns and 340 rushing yards. This was Fierros’ third game over 200 rushing yards this season. Before this contest, Fierros was ranked in third in the state with 652 yards on the ground.
Maricopa’s offensive line struggled to create running lanes and missed a number of blocking assignments, but the tandem of Fierros and Schwanbeck shook off tacklers all game.
Fierro’s most impressive run of the night came off a pass from Rams quarterback Will Clemans. Clemans hit Fierros in the flat at the Empire 21-yard line. Fierros was wrapped up by an Empire defender at the 15, but somehow broke the tackle and went untouched into the end zone for the go-ahead touchdown. His longest run of the night came on Maricopa’s first offensive play of the second half, when he cut and weaved up the right the side of the field 66 yards for the touchdown, tying the game at 14-14.
The Maricopa defense of Fierros, Schwanbeck, Derek Gonzales, Vince Bailey, Heath Bookman, Kendall Morris, Tony Jones, Vince Davis and Cody Seymore gave up one touchdown on the night, forcing three turnovers. Jones added another sack, giving him 10 quarterback sacks on the season. He is on pace to finish the season with 20.
The Empire defense picked off two Clemans passes and returned them both for touchdowns, keeping the game close to the end. Maricopa’s Carlos Leon added all four PAT’s on the night.
Fierros was happy with his offensive numbers, noting, “We made the big plays on both sides of the ball when we needed them.”
Maricopa head coach Tyler Brandt added, “We made a lot of mistakes, but when you can win playing bad you’re getting pretty good.”
Brandt and his Rams will put this win behind them to prepare for next Friday’s game with Fountain Hills at 7 p.m.
Photos by Amy Jamieson
Maricopa Rams 2007 Football Schedule:
8/24/2007 Estrella Foothills (Won 20-13)
8/31/2007 @ Wickenburg (Lost 24-6)
9/7/2007 Bourgade (Won 45-40)
9/14/2007 @ Coolidge (Lost 61-12)
9/21/2007 Empire (Won 28-21)
9/28/2007 Fountain Hills
10/5/2007 @ Safford
10/12/2007 Santa Cruz
10/26/2007 @ Globe