KINGMAN Ideally, football games are decided by which teams wants it more than the other one.
But sometimes football becomes a numbers game, a game the Kingman High football team rarely wins.
Kingman's arms and legs couldn't keep up with its will to win in the second half, resulting in a 49-0 loss at home to Deer Valley.
"I'm not going to say I feel bad for our kids, but I will say that I'm proud of our kids," Kingman coach Jay Weakland said. "I feel very good about coaching every one of them regardless of their ability and talent level because of the predicament we're in. They gave me everything they had, whether it was two plays, two quarters or two halves."
The predicament Weakland speaks of is sending his 31-man roster, in which seven or eight of its players play offense and defense and a few are out with injuries, against a 45-man roster that only keeps one or two players on the field for every down.
"I see the situation they are in, and they're fighting their tails off, and I feel like I can't do anything to help them," he said. "It tugs at your heart because they're giving you everything they have."
Besides the 45-31 disadvantage and the digits on the scoreboard, a few other numbers hurt the Bulldogs. Kingman was 1-for-11 on third down conversions, opposed to the Skyhawks, who went 5-for-6. The Bulldogs most productive play was a 17-yard pass to John Soto. Deer Valley had seven plays go for more than 20 yards.
Kingman won the turnover battle with three interceptions (Sean Farrington, Mike Howell and Randy Eaton) and a fumble recovery, compared to its only turnover, a fumble in the final minutes of the game. The Bulldogs also called 13 more offensive plays in the first half (35 to 22), starting with a 10-play drive on their first possession. The Bulldogs moved to the Deer Valley 28 after a late-hit penalty kept the drive alive, but Matt Cardeccia's 47-yard field goal attempt was blocked and returned to the Kingman 40.
"He's done it," Weakland said. "It's right about his limits, so you don't know unless you let him try, but he didn't have a chance because we didn't protect him."
The Skyhawks scored five plays later when former Bulldog Justin Hosler ran up the middle on a quarterback sneak for a 7-0 lead with less than six minutes in the quarter.
Kingman had the ball in Skyhawk territory two more times in the half, but started to break down at the line of scrimmage. Deer Valley had three sacks and blocked a punt, all in the final six minutes of the half, resulting in two Shyhawk scores and a 21-0 lead at the break.
"They started bringing some pressure and got some guys through so we couldn't get some bigger plays," Weakland said. "We went after their weak link, and he covered it up. It becomes a guessing game, and I screwed up near halftime and called a play wrong and told the kids that was on me."
Deer Valley struck again to start the third quarter for a 28-0 lead. Its next two possessions ended in interceptions, but Kingman's offense could not capitalize.
Hosler rushed four times for 28 yards with a touchdown and a fumble. Offensively, Jesse Ochoa had 49 yards on 22 carries, and Albert Yee had 13 rushes for three yards. John Soto caught three passes for 28 yards from Farrington, who was 4 of 10 overall for 31 yards. Howell and Ochoa led the Bulldog defense with six tackles each.
"Mike Howell has become the player we wanted him to become," Weakland said. "He wanted to be a tailback at the start of the season, but he made a sacrifice for us moving to tight end, and he's all over the field making plays on defense and playing a helluva senior season."
Kingman (1-4) travels to Sandra Day O'Connor on Friday. Its next home game is Oct. 20.