CASA GRANDE - Casa Grande waited until it was too late to play some good football Friday night in Campo Verde's 43-12 win.
Things started on an upbeat note for Casa Grande. Nick Elliott ran for 7 yards on a fake punt to give the Cougars (2-4) a first down on the game’s initial possession before the seven-play drive stalled at their 31. Then came Ryder McIntyre’s 16-yard interception return to the Campo Verde 43 on the Coyotes’ first play from scrimmage.
But the Cougars couldn’t capitalize, going three and out. The Coyotes (4-2), seized control by scoring touchdowns on their next five possessions to take a 36-0 halftime lead.
Campo Verde’s first TD drive covered 93 yards and took just four plays. After a 50-yard run by Brock Sanderson to the Union 29, Gabe Ogbonnaya reached the end zone from 16 yards out with 6:44 remaining in the first quarter.
The Coyotes took advantage of a 10-yard punt to make it 15-0 with 4:09 left in the first on Luke Pineda’s 21-yard TD pass to Jordan Fickas and a two-point conversion pass from Zack Patton to Sean Appel. The 26-yard drive took two plays.
Pineda’s 5-yard touchdown pass to Darius Williams finished a four-play, 19-yard drive with 2:31 remaining in the first quarter. Sanderson’s 17-yard TD run capped a nine-play, 58-yard series with 10:30 left in the second, and Pineda had an 8-yard scoring run to end a six-play, 76-yard march 3:52 before halftime.
Campo Verde’s final TD came on a 16-yard pass from Devon Edge to Alex Madrid with 7:34 remaining in the third quarter following Josh Golden’s interception. That drive started from the Union 31 and took four plays.
The Cougars punted six times in the first half. Their only sustained drive, which went 68 yards in 13 plays to the Campo Verde 21, ended with a missed field goal.
Held to 33 yards rushing and 33 yards passing in the first half by Campo Verde's defense, Casa Grande finished with 223 total yards. The Coyotes rushed for 222 of their 329 total yards.
Casa Grande’s TDs came on fourth-down passes from Nick Elliott to Stephen Mendicino. The first was a 13-yarder on the opening play of the fourth quarter. Mendicino had a 31-yard reception earlier in the 10-play, 60-yard drive.
The Cougars lost a fumble on their next series, then marched 65 yard in eight plays. Mendicino, who had eight catches for 138 yards, caught a 39-yarder on fourth and 9 to advance the ball to the Campo Verde 25. His second TD reception came on fourth and 15 from the 17 with 31 seconds remaining.
Elliott was sacked five times and finished with 27 yards on 19 carries. He completed 9 of 22 passes for 144 yards. Keanu Lankster led the Cougars in rushing with 41 yards on 12 attempts.