Already short-handed before they took the field, the Maricopa High School varsity football team fell to Canyon View on Friday, 17-12.
The Rams were without the services of several players, including seniors Mister Chavis and Hunter Taylor. Quarterback Cipriano Childers had to leave the game early as a precaution for possible concussion.
“You gotta play. It doesn’t matter; nobody cares what your issues are, you gotta play,” MHS head coach Brandon Harris said. “And we played terrible tonight in every facet of the game.”
Though getting on the board first with a field goal, the Jaguars looked entirely beatable. The newest school in the Agua Fria Unified High School District, Canyon View went down, 56-0, to Desert Edge the week before.
Tackles for loss and turnovers, however, limited Maricopa’s forward momentum. Harris was disappointed in unfocused play from seniors, including two dropped footballs to start the game.
The coach said losses are OK, but he was disturbed with “how” the team lost Friday’s game.
“I burned three timeouts in the first half in one minute because guys don’t listen and don’t line up the way they’re supposed to line up,” Harris said. “And these aren’t young kids we’re talking about.”
The Rams were able to overcome early mistakes with 2:09 left in the first quarter, following up a three-yard loss by sending senior Michael Moore on a 60-yard carry for a touchdown. They still trailed the Jaguars, 10-6.
Moore and freshman Cassius Campbell had quarterback duties much of the game. Campbell threw a 61-yard pass for Maricopa’s final touchdown in the fourth quarter.
It was a busy night for punters as both teams struggled to get into the red zone. The Maricopa defense was led by Patrick Garcia, with Racellus Johnson having two sacks and Dominic Hall grabbing an interception.
What turned out to be the Jaguars’ winning touchdown was extraordinary for a few reasons. The Maricopa defense had Canyon View in a fourth-and-12 situation on the 37, and the Jaguars elected to pass. The throw from Ashton Zacher forced receiver Anthony Munoz-Ramirez to leap high, not only catching the ball but also beating Maricopa on the ground to run it into the end zone.
“With the guys we had out, we should have still been taking care of business,” Harris said, “and we didn’t.”
The Rams next play region rival Saguaro (1-0) Oct. 16 at 7 p.m. in Maricopa.