It wasn't pretty, but the Gilbert Williams Field Black Hawks got past the Maricopa Rams 38-20 for a season-opening win Friday night.
Williams Field (1-0, 1-0 in Division III) found much success early on, racing to a 32-0 lead thanks to two successful hookups between quarterback Jeddediah Fagg and receiver Cole Forsgren, touchdown runs by Fagg and backup quarterback Cole Patterson and a nifty 55-yard punt return by Sean Schweichler.
The lead was 32 points until the final minute of the first half, when Maricopa halfback Kentrell Coleman stumbled 4 yards into the end zone to put six points on the board for the Rams (0-1, 0-1) .
After Fagg threw another touchdown, this time to receiver Jordan Johnson for 39 yards, to make it 38-6 early in the third quarter, Maricopa took advantage of several Williams Field penalties to keep hopes alive, starting with an 85-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Caleb Buck to Coleman midway through the third quarter. Maricopa proceeded to tack on another score, a 3-yard run by Coleman, at 3:45 in the fourth to make it 38-20, but the Black Hawks never provided the Rams offense another chance to touch the ball.
For the game, Williams Field recorded 15 penalties, several of which kept those late Maricopa scoring drives alive.
“We have a lot of things we have to get corrected,” said Williams Field head coach Steve Campbell, citing the penalties, numerous missed tackles and four fumbles that could have hurt the Black Hawks had the team not recovered them.
Schweichler led Williams Field with 59 yards on 10 carries -- two of which ended with a fumble -– and added a 20-yard reception and the 55-yard punt return. Fagg ended his day with a 10-yard touchdown scamper and tallied 152 yards passing on eight completions with three touchdowns and an interception.
For the Rams, Coleman picked off Fagg in the first quarter and tallied 33 yards on 12 carries and 90 yards receiving on two receptions. He did, however, fumble the ball three times, one of which was lost and set up Fagg's 10-yard touchdown run in the second quarter.
Buck, in his first game as Maricopa's quarterback after transferring from Phoenix Mountain Pointe last December, completed 11 of 24 passes for 203 yards and the one long touchdown to Coleman. He also completed a 51-yard pass to wide receiver Jamahri Lee.
Despite the lackluster performance, Williams Field still opened the season with a victory against a sectional foe, and Campbell said the moments when the team performed well –- Schweichler's punt return, for example –- should give the Black Hawks something to build on going forward.
“In the long run, it's going to pay off,” he said.