Ironwood plays spoiler at Bulldogs' homecoming

Kingman got off to a fast start on Friday against visiting Ironwood, but the Eagles ended up spoiling the Bulldogs' homecoming celebration by leaving town with a 16-7 victory.

Early in the game it looked as though the Bulldogs would dominate.

Reed Bullen picked up 36 yards on the opening play from scrimmage and 18 yards on the next play to put the ball at the Ironwood 26 yardline.

On the third play of the game Bullen picked up another 10 yards to give the Bulldogs first and 10 at the Ironwood 16, but the drive fizzled and a field goal attempt from 23 yards out missed.

On Ironwood's first serried the Eagles moved the ball to the Kingman 29 yardline, but a sack of Ironwood quarterback Ralph Moreno by Kevin Gifford moved the Eagles back to the 45 and forced a punting situation.

The Eagles faked the punt but the Bulldogs sniffed it out and tackled Ryan Huber for no gain.

Kingman opened the next drive on its own 45.

Two big runs by Kingman quarterback Justin Walsh moved the ball to the Ironwood 14.

On first down David Kinion took the pitch on the option to the right and ran into the right corner of the end zone untouched to put the Bulldogs up 7-0 with 3:59 left in the first quarter.

"We need to come out with that kind of intensity every week, not just at homecoming," Kingman coach Rich Grosh said.

Ironwood answered with a 52-yard drive that took three plays to tie the game at 7-7 with 2:45 left in the opening quarter.

Neither team scored again in the first half, but big plays on the defensive side of the ball were a key to keeping Ironwood out of the end zone.

Gifford recorded three sacks in the first half and A.J.

Byzewski recovered a fumble of his own punt to help the Bulldogs keep the game even.

On Byzewski's fumble recovery he punted the ball when the Bulldogs were stalled at their own 20 midway through the second quarter.

Seconds later he was downfield and in position to recover a fumble when the Eagles' return man, Brian Gronewold, fumbled.

Aside from his three sacks in the first half, Gifford also blocked a pass from Moreno.

"I think the defense played its best game of the year," Grosh said.

"They did a good job.

They flew to the ball."

Ironwood opened the second half with an 81-yard, 10-play drive that was capped by a 25-yard pass for a touchdown to Chris Baker.

The kick for the PAT failed and the Eagles led 13-7.

When the Bulldogs got the ball back they were unable to get a first down and on fourth down and six from their own 39 they faked a punt and Kinion, who was back blocking for the punter, took the snap and tried to run around the right side of the Ironwood line.

He was stopped for a five-yard loss and the Eagles took over at the Kingman 34.

Ironwood failed to move the ball, but Jake Friedberg kicked a 48-yard field goal to put the Eagles up 16-7 with 4:47 left in the third quarter.

Neither team was able to move the ball consistently the remainder of the game.

"I think they schemed us well," Grosh said of Ironwood's defense.

"I could not get the option going.

We had to go to (the pass).

I didn't have another choice."

The Bulldogs were successful passing late in the game, picking up key first downs through the air, but each drive fizzled.

"No one prepares for the pass for us," Grosh said.

"We can't pass on first, second and third down.

It's not going to work.

It's not our scheme."

Despite the loss to last year's 5A state runner-up, Grosh said he saw some things he liked.

"The kids played hard," Grosh said.

"I'm proud of them."

Kingman is at home again this week to host Tolleson, which lost to Peoria Sunrise Mountain 19-17 on Friday.