Higley coach Jim Beall calls them his “Nasties,” and Friday the Knights offensive line treated Sedona Red Rock to a nasty visit to the East Valley.
Led by Jeff Clark’s 26 carries for 150 yards, Higley pounded on the Scorpions 48 times for 326 yards in a 35-6 homecoming victory.
“Our line just knocked them off the ball,” said Clark, who has been over 100 yards in four of five games this year, including a career-high 213 last week at Chino Valley.
With their league opener looming next week at home against Seton Catholic, the Knights improved to 3-2 while Sedona fell to 2-2.
“We just wore them down,” Beall said. “I think it was a little hot and humid for them coming down, and our kids are in great condition.”
Higley’s offensive front — center Anthony Fierro, guards Justin Bighorn and Walker Scheurn, tackles Garrett Riffey and Jaye Deal and tight end Tyler DeRamos — made life easy on Clark, who rarely was touched before he had sprinted 4 yards downfield.
“That kind of helps the average,” said Clark, who is already over 600 yards for the year. “If they don’t block, we get killed.”
The offensive line’s dominance didn’t stop when Clark was pulled with eight minutes left. Reserve backs Erik Pugmire and David Becker rolled the Knights downfield for the game’s final score and averaged over eight yards a carry between them.
Red Rock’s option attack humbled then-No. 5 Fountain Hills a week ago, but the Scorpions couldn’t duplicate that success Friday.
In the first half, the Scorpions were OK as long as they kept the ball in Adam Senger’s hands and stayed on their side of midfield.
Senger’s first three carries covered 32 yards and the junior back gained 50 by halftime, but the rest of the Red Rock offense netted just 13 yards. The Scorpions gained just 11 yards on plays inside Higley territory.
Senger left with a deep thigh bruise in the second quarter and did not return.
“We don’t have a lot of depth and (losing Senger) bothered us some,” said Red Rock coach Jim Cromartie. “We weren’t able to throw the ball. We’ve been able to do that better than we did tonight.”
Going to the air was Red Rock’s biggest mistake. Six times in the first half Jeff Miner threw passes and only two were caught — by Knights Zach Appenzeller and Kerry Ard.
For the game, Miner was 1-for-14 for 5 yards and was intercepted three times.
“Everybody worked hard this week on our keys,” Ard said. “They got a couple of plays but we pretty much kept them down to nothing.”
With the exception of Red Rock’s final scoring drive, Higley limited the Scorpions to 86 yards of total offense and didn’t allow the Scorpions inside the Knight 41.
“Defensively we played a great game,” Beall said. “When you play the option you have to be very detailed."
Even Higley’s special teams got into the act. Ard, who scored on a pass earlier, blocked a Red Rock punt in the second quarter to set up Clark’s first TD run.