Junior Erick Belcher had two catches for 95 yards and a touchdown and scored two more on special teams to lead Campo Verde over host Barry Goldwater 46-0 on opening night for both teams Friday.
“At practice, our coaches prepare us so good, we feel every game if we start strong there’s no team that can beat us in state,” a confident Belcher said on the field after the two teams shook hands.
Belcher caught a 72-yard touchdown pass from senior quarterback Luke Pineda to kick off the game's scoring only 55 seconds into the first quarter. Pineda was 4 for 7 for 110 yards passing and had five carries for 36 yards and a touchdown.
Belcher’s heroics on special teams began with an 80-yard kickoff return for a touchdown with 10:41 to play in the first quarter after the Coyotes had just taken a 9-0 lead off a sack for a safety by junior defensive tackle Finton Connolly.
The Coyotes had 283 yards of total offense, and held Barry Goldwater to only 131 total yards, 106 of which came in the air.
“We came out ready. We came out and executed. We’ve been preparing for six months for this and now it’s on to the next one and hopefully we can have the same result. We were pretty excited to play,” Campo Verde coach Max Ragsdale said.
Senior Brandon Turner, taking his turn at quarterback for the Coyotes, hooked up with senior wideout Alex Madrid for a 55-yard touchdown pass to make it 29-0, his only throw of the night while carrying the ball twice for 19 yards.
Senior linebacker Jake Ramos made it 32-0 after he sacked Bulldogs quarterback Cooper Ray in the end zone for another Campo Verde safety.
“We play defense first, then special teams and then we’ll score points. That’s kind of our hierarchy of how we feel about those three phases of the game in that order,” Ragsdale said.
Belcher added his second special teams score of the night off a 46-yard punt return for a touchdown as time expired in the second quarter to give Campo Verde a 39-0 halftime lead.
“I had great blocking. My teammates were laying their bodies out for me. I can’t put all the credit on me, they were making big plays,” Belcher said, who had over 240 total yards to go along with his three scores.
As for the Bulldogs, junior quarterback Cooper Ray was 14 for 26 for 106 yards and no interceptions. Barry Goldwater coach Rich Metcalf said his team is “young” and that they need to “get back to focusing on coming out with a fast start” if they hope to compete.
“They put us in a hole early, and we’re not equipped for that type of deal ... What we need to do is get better at coming off the football and executing basic fundamental skills and we’ll get there. We’re not going to build a church on one loss,” Metcalf said. “We’ve got a lot of work to do in Division III and it’s not going to get any easier for us and so we’re going to go back and get ready for Shadow Mountain.”
Campo Verde 46, Barry Goldwater 0
First Downs: CV 8, BG 6
Rushing: CV 21-118, BG 24-25
Passing: (comp.-att.-yards-TD-INT) CV 5-8-2-1, BG 14-26-106-0-0
Fumbles-lost: CV 2-0, BG 0-0
Penalties: CV 4-50, BG 8-52
Campo Verde 23 16 7 0 — 46
Barry Goldwater 0 0 0 0 — 0
CV: Belcher 72 pass from Pineda (Wells kick)
CV: Connolly sack/safety
CV: Belcher 80 kickoff return (Wells kick)
CV: Pineda 9 run (Wells kick)
CV: Madrid 55 pass from Turner (Wells kick)
CV: Ramos sack/safety
CV: Belcher 46 punt return (Wells kick)
CV: Ogbonnaya 2 run (Wells kick)