Tigers host 4-1 Sedona for homecoming tradition

Academy needs win in big game to snap three-game skid to keep postseason hopes alive

SHAWN BYRNE/Miner<br /><br /><!-- 1upcrlf2 -->Academy’s Chy Banda, left, puts his shoulder into a block during Wednesday’s practice at Southside Park.

SHAWN BYRNE/Miner<br /><br /><!-- 1upcrlf2 -->Academy’s Chy Banda, left, puts his shoulder into a block during Wednesday’s practice at Southside Park.

KINGMAN - Homecoming activities have been in full swing for Kingman Academy High this week, including Thursday's parade and bonfire. The Tigers host Sedona Red Rock in the annual traditional game at Southside Park at 7 p.m. today.

Homecoming can be a distraction for football teams, but KAHS coach Dan Stroup said his team has it under control.

"I don't think we've had any problem with it all," he said. "The kids are in this for the long haul."

Academy (2-3, 0-1) resumes the Division V, Section VII schedule against the Scorpions after dropping three consecutive games, including a 25-6 loss to Parker last week.

Sedona (4-1, 1-0) beat up Camp Verde last week, 35-6.

The Tigers defense has held up fairly well this season, but the offense does need to start clicking.

Academy has been outscored 161-110, and Stroup said he's made some adjustments to do just that by focusing on quarterback Will Herbine. He's completed 39 percent of his passes for 584 yards with seven touchdowns and seven interceptions.

"We're going to try and take some pressure off of Will," the coach said. "It's hard on Will to play linebacker and then go play quarterback."

Sedona does most of its damage running the ball and averages 165 yards on the ground and 112 in the air. The Scorpions have outscored their opponents 145-44.

"They spread you out to run the ball," Stroup said. "They've got two good little tailbacks who are speedy and quick. When they run the football, they usually win. When they have to pass, they're in trouble."

Senior linebacker and fullback Chy Banda has been one of the Tigers most consistent players on offense and defense, and Stroup likes his leadership style.

"He's a real quiet leader," the coach said. "He leads by example and not by his mouth. He wasn't chosen as a captain because he's so quiet, but the other players should emulate him."

Banda led the Tigers against Parker last week with 17 total tackles, and Stroup said he saw on film where he missed five and could have finished with more than 20. Banda also plays fullback and scored the Academy's only touchdown versus the Broncs, but he prefers the defensive side of the ball.

"You get to hit the other guy," the senior said. "It gets crazy out there."

Banda is second on the team with 48 total tackles, three behind team-leader Walker Glass and his 51. He's also second on the team with 168 yards rushing.

Banda likes his team's chances against Sedona, but he knows the Tigers can beat themselves.

"If we keep doing our jobs, then the defense will be all right," he said. "If the offense does its job and executes it correctly, we'll come out with the win."