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Kingman Academy destroys Cowboys

KINGMAN - Western film legend John Wayne once said, "I'd spend (time) stomping other men or, in some cases, getting stomped."

In a nutshell, that's been the Kingman Academy football team's 2013 season to this point. During their previous four-game losing streak, the Tigers were unbearably shorthanded. Because of that, they struggled to play to their full potential - until now.

When KAHS is healthy, as in the season's first two games, they can be lethal. Big, gaping results can soon follow, such as Thursday's 54-14 smashing of Camp Verde High School on the road.

"Their contributions were awesome. Our line was phenomenal. Our kids came out possessed, played good, hard football - the way we used to play it," said Tigers head coach Wally Mueller. "Camp Verde, they didn't have any force. Everything we did seemed to work. Our kids just played to their full potential."

Senior running back Wes McCord had 253 rushing yards. Senior running back Pryce Portillio added 252 rushing yards, including a 75-yard run up the middle and a 90-yard dash. More importantly, the team is healing. Players such as senior tight end Frankie Mueller (who broke his collarbone at Sequoia High School Sept. 6) are on the verge of returning to action, and the Tigers didn't endure additional injuries Thursday.

Keeping the not-too-distant future in perspective, Thursday's win was a big confidence-booster.

Starting with a touchdown on their opening possession, they garnered momentum on the field and never looked back.

"We had to start moving the football with some efficiency. If we could do that, we would get the momentum in our kids and take it to them. And boy, did they," Mueller said. "We just kept pounding them, getting 5-6 yards a carry."

Meanwhile, Kingman Academy's defense shut Camp Verde down for much of the evening.

Aside from scoring a touchdown in the first quarter when KAHS turned over the ball after a botched fake punk, the only offense CVHS put forth was a kick return for a touchdown late in the fourth quarter. And this occurred after Kingman Academy put its freshmen and sophomores on the field.

The Tigers (3-4) rested their core starters for most of the fourth quarter. KAHS took senior quarterback Austin Tomlinson out with seven-and-a-half minutes left in regulation. Freshman Andrew Quick took the remaining snaps.

"We didn't want to run the risk of getting Austin hurt, and I wanted to get (Andrew) some experience," Mueller said. "There was no way Camp Verde was going to come back."

Kingman Academy only punted once the whole evening, toward the end of regulation.

Kingman Academy will return home for Homecoming night at 6 p.m. next Friday against Greyhills Academy High School.

"They finally realized what they can do if they put forth the effort," Mueller said of his players. "I hope they don't get overconfident. We've still got some tough opponents coming. We played the kind of football that people in Kingman are accustomed to watching Academy play. I couldn't be more proud of the kids than I am right now."


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