From the opening kickoff, it was clear this night belonged to Scottsdale Coronado. On the road against a higher-ranked team for the second time this season, the No. 4 Dons proved once again they aren’t ones to be intimidated, rolling to a 36-6 victory Friday over No. 3 Queen Creek in 4A-II East Sky Region play.
“We told the kids the region goes through Queen Creek, so they were pretty fired up for this one,” Dons coach B.J. Pasquel said.
Coronado (6-0, 1-0 region), which previously defeated then-No. 3 Phoenix Greenway 21-10 on Sept. 19, capitalized on the Bulldogs’ multiple first-quarter mistakes to quickly build a comfortable early lead.
The Dons’ first four possessions all started on Queen Creek’s side of the ball, and they found the end zone each time.
The Bulldogs’ Daniel Morgutia fumbled the opening kickoff, and Shawn Martin recovered at the 24. David Alfaro scored on a 1-yard run two plays later and the rout was on. A 29-yard hookup between quarterback Alex Buya and Alfaro on fourth down capped a 36-yard drive on the next possession before Buya and Kaylin Ashley each added a rushing touchdown to give Coronado a 27-0 advantage after one quarter.
“The first quarter was huge. We had short fields, we had the wind with us and we took advantage of every little thing they did,” Pasquel said.
Coronado’s second scoring drive came after its defense stopped Queen Creek
(4-2, 1-1) on fourth-and-3 at its own 35. Its third followed a 69-yard punt return by Bryan Dunlavey, and its fourth came after a short punt, which gave the Dons the ball at the Bulldogs’ 39.
Meanwhile, Coronado continued the dominating play that has been its trademark all season. Queen Creek was limited to 119 rushing yards, 170 below its average, and didn’t score until 55 seconds remained in the game.
“They had our number,” coach Curt LeBlanc said. “We could not get into a rhythm.”
“Our defense has been doing this all year,” added Pasquel, whose team has allowed only 45 points all season, an average of 7.5.
Ashley paced the offense with his third straight 100-yard rushing game. The 5-foot-11, 171-pound senior tallied 121 yards and two touchdowns on 23 carries.
He has now racked up 580 rushing yards and seven touchdowns the past three weeks, giving him 739 yards and 13 TDs for the season, both region highs.
“I’m rushing for 1,000,” he said confidently.
In the spring, there was a chance Ashley wouldn’t be on the team.
Ashley, who moved to Scottsdale last winter after living in Phoenix and attending Camelback, was kicked off the track team by Pasquel for missing too many practices.
“I said, 'This is what you’ve got to get used to,’” said Pasquel, who estimated Ashley can run a 4.6 in the 40-yard dash. “He’s a good kid, a likeable kid and a great teammate. But when we started off, I said, 'You’ve got to make practice and make a commitment.’
“He’s fit in perfect with the 26 guys we have.”
Ashley took the tough love to heart.
“I know now, you’ve got to stick with it,” he said. “It feels good. Being 6-0, we can’t be better than that.”