Higley started slow but finished strong in a 40-18 victory over McClintock on homecoming night. The Chargers (3-5) jumped out to a 12-0 lead in the second quarter after Dominic Orona scored on a 32-yard touchdown run, but Higley (7-1) quickly came back and scored a pair of touchdowns in the second quarter to take a 14-12 lead into halftime.
McClintock had a chance to take a lead heading into halftime after Kyree King intercepted a Tyler Bloom pass and brought it all the way back to the Higley 15 yard line. After a couple offensive penalties pushed the Chargers back to the Higley 26 yard line, Mason Johnson tackled Esteban Arteaga on third down and long, forcing a fumble that he recovered in the process.
“It was a sloppy game in the first half. We didn’t execute in the first half. We didn’t have a good game plan,” said Higley coach Eddy Zubey.
The Knights blew the game open in the second half. Higley at one point scored 27 unanswered points. McClintock had a chance to get within a touchdown and a two point conversion in the fourth quarter after Arteaga scored his second touchdown of the game, this one from 10 yards out. However after missing the extra point on their first touchdown of the game, the Chargers once again missed the point-after attempt, and the game remained a two-score contest with 3:45 remaining in the fourth quarter.
From there the Knights left no doubt who was going to win the game. Kole Hunter caught his second touchdown pass of the game on a 14-yard touchdown reception, and Sinjin Kirkpatric intercepted an Orona pass and returned it 20 yards for a touchdown on the ensuing McClintock possession.
“We made some adjustments in the second half and it ended up turning in our favor.” Zubey said.
Ricky Marshall had a big night both on and off the field for Higley. Marshall rushed the ball 23 times for 131 yards and scored a touchdown, and was also named the homecoming king.
McClintock will have to win its final two games for a .500 season. They finish the season hosting South Mountain, followed by a road matchup against Apache Junction.
“We had our best first quarter, and we showed some flashes of some really good stuff. But this is a matchup against the No. 10 ranked team in the state. This is the best game we have played against a ranked team all season. We are not making huge leaps but we are making definitive progress.” McClintock coach Matthew Lewis said.