KINGMAN - The Kingman High football team played with a different attitude than its previous three games when it went up against Goldwater Friday at KHS.
Unfortunately, the result was similar as Goldwater (2-2) put the game away early in a 53-14 win over the Bulldogs.
"I'm proud of the guys for the way they fought, were vocal and had energy at the end," said KHS coach Greg Tonjes. "At the end when I started subbing for the starters, they were cheering on the subs."
After Kingman (0-4) forced Goldwater to punt on its opening drive, the Bulldogs gave the ball back four plays later when quarterback Daniel Williford was intercepted. Three plays after that, Goldwater quarterback Kooper Ray got free for a 12-yard touchdown run to move ahead for good, 6-0.
Ray put the ball up in the air 40 times and completed 18 passes for 354 yards and five touchdowns. Kingman keyed on Goldwater tight end Daniel Reyes and held him to 30 yards on two catches, one for a touchdown.
"We shut down the one guy, but they had more guys to come at us with," Tonjes said. "They were a lot bigger, taller and faster than us."
Goldwater scored on its next four possessions and held a 34-0 lead at the half. A lot of that work came from wide receivers Alex Centa and Demarco Jackson. Centa finished with four catches for 118 yards and a touchdown. Jackson had three catches for 81 yards and two touchdowns.
The Bulldogs did manage to outscore Goldwater in the third quarter, 14-13. Williford connected with Tyler Tapia for a 21-yard touchdown strike, and Jose Moreno hauled in a Williford pass for a 63-yard score.
On the drive that culminated with Reyes' touchdown, the Bulldog defense could be heard claiming they had just played their best defense of the season. It took Goldwater 16 plays to get in the end zone, but the drive looked to be stopped on the eighth play when Goldwater punted. However, Kingman was flagged for roughing the snapper, which became an automatic first down.
"Goldwater had to scrap and claw against our defense," Tonjes said. "It wasn't easy for them. I know this is hard for people to understand, but this was our best game of the season. The players did what we wanted them to do, and they brought a fresh energy."
Kingman's offense could not get going in the first half. The Goldwater front line owned the line of scrimmage.
"We were outweighed by 40 pounds per player," the coach said. "And we have a young line. We lost two seniors for the year, and now we have two sophomores there. But it's not an excuse."
Williford completed 14 of 28 passes for 172 yards and two touchdowns. He also threw four interceptions. Jose Moreno stepped in and threw four passes and completed two for three yards.
Kingman returns to the road when they travel to Prescott Valley to face Bradshaw Mountain (1-2) at 7 p.m. Friday. The Bears lost to Saguaro Friday 63-7, but did beat common opponent Lake Havasu a week earlier, 28-20.
Bulldog note: Kingman lost starting wide receiver/safety Garret Stephens, a junior, in the first quarter. Stephens dislocated his elbow when he was tackled, and Tonjes reported he had to have surgery.