The Kingman Academy of Learning High School football season came to an abrupt end on Saturday as the Tigers lost to Chandler El Dorado 38-6 in the semifinals of the Arizona High School Football Federation playoffs.
KAOL (9-3) trailed 6-0 early in the first quarter when the Tigers' Mat Higuera busted a run on a dive play for 50 yards and a touchdown to tie the game. KAOL was able to keep the Wolverines in check throughout most of the game, but big plays haunted the Tigers. El Dorado (11-1) managed a reverse and a quarterback sneak, each for 50 yards and touchdowns.
"Other than those two plays, we held them to less than 100 yards rushing," coach Bill Prichard said on Sunday.
Prichard noted how the Tigers were able to get to the red zone on several occasions but were unable to convert the field position into scores. On one drive, KAOL made it to El Dorado's one-yard line on a halfback pass, but the play was called back on an illegal blocking penalty and the Tigers' drive stalled.
"Our intensity was big. If we had played like that all year, we would have been 9-0 heading into the playoffs," Prichard said.
Bob Blake threw the ball well, passing 9-for-13 for 140 yards with no interceptions.
"We did everything right. We played hard and as well as we could, but you have to hand it to El Dorado. They were the better football team that night," Prichard said.
Prichard and his coaching staff were concerned about the matchups prior to the game. They hoped that the heart of the Tigers would be able to offset the physical differences between the teams.
"We matched up well besides size, speed and depth," Prichard said, tongue in cheek.
Though the score may seem lopsided, Prichard said that it was a much closer game then what the score would indicate.
"El Dorado said that they had never been hit so hard as they were against us," Prichard said. "We played with a lot of heart."
"The boys did a great job and we're real proud of them."
Prichard now hopes that the KAOL administration sees the need for a weight program at the school. This is only KAOL's second season of football, and Prichard was quick to point out the fast rise of the Tigers.
"For our second year, to say arguably that we're the third best, I couldn't expect anything more," he said.
If the football team can work out an agreement with one of the gyms in town for the Tigers to get in the work needed to succeed, Prichard said that it could lead to better things from the Tigers.
"It could be the last step for our program," Prichard said.
El Dorado moves on to the championship game against NFL Yet Academy. NFL Yet is undefeated and beat El Dorado in the early part of the regular season.