Thirteen games into the season, and Matt Guida is still doing things that impress Queen Creek quarterback Carson Jones.
If he has one more big performance in him — and if his teammates keep playing this well — the Bulldogs may be state champions.
Queen Creek’s star tailback had 17 carries for 214 yards and three touchdowns and the defense again played great as the second-seeded Bulldogs advanced to the Division III championship game with a 35-0 win over No. 14 Nogales on Saturday at Campo Verde.
Queen Creek will face No. 1 Goodyear Desert Edge at 3:07 p.m. on Saturday at Arizona State’s Sun Devil Stadium.
Guida’s unforgettable play came on his fourth carry, when he jumped over a defender bracing for a collision and then weaved his way for a 61-yard gain. Two plays later he plunged in for a 1-yard touchdown, setting in motion the victory.
“He breaks tackles like no one else, but I don’t think he’s ever jumped over a guy,” Jones said. “That was awesome.”
The Apaches came in as the Cinderella story of the postseason after upsetting No. 3 Sabino and No. 11 Sunrise Mountain in the first two rounds, and while they played well in stretches, the talent disparity was too much to overcome.
Queen Creek (13-0) had nearly 500 yards of total offense while Nogales didn’t get past 200 until a late 55-yard pass with the game already decided.
Luis Moreno and Derek Arrington each had interceptions as Queen Creek notched its sixth shutout of the year.
“We didn’t play a perfect game by any means, but at the end of the day that’s the perfect outcome,” Queen Creek coach Joe Germaine said. “That’s exactly what we wanted.”
The Apaches had no answer for the Bulldogs running game, as backup tailback Marcus Still added nine carries for 115 yards and two touchdowns. Queen Creek didn’t punt in the contest.
The Bulldogs made the state semifinals in Germaine’s first year and the quarterfinals a season ago but were eliminated by Saguaro both times.
Germaine is no stranger to success on the football field, with a high school title, Rose Bowl victory and Super Bowl ring on his resume, but this is his first time in the championship game as a coach.
He said this one is different because he wants to win so badly for the players.
“This is our third year as a staff, and if you really think about it, these kids have come up in our program,” Germaine said. “It’s neat to see them buy in and be a part of what we’re doing. They’ve worked so hard to try to accomplish a goal, and to have the chance to do it is really neat.”
N - 0 0 0 0 -- 0
QC - 7 7 14 7 -- 35
First Downs: N 14; QC 23
Rushes-Yards: N 29-112; QC 34-366
Passing Yards: N 135; QC 122
Comp-Att-Int: N 13-31-2; QC 10-15-0
Fumbles-Lost: N 0-0; QC 2-1
Penalties-Yards: N 3-25; QC 1-5
QC — Guida 1 run, Ibarra kick
QC — Guida 32 run, Ibarra kick
QC — Still 33 run, Ibarra kick
QC — Guida 4 run, Ibarra kick
QC — Still 3 run, Ibarra kick