KINGMAN - Wickenburg ran up and down the field on the Kingman Academy defense, and the Wranglers spoiled Homecoming for the home team Friday at Southside Park, 49-20. It also spoiled the Division III, Section III opener for the Academy.
Official stats for Wickenburg (2-2, 1-0) were unavailable, but the Wranglers put up a big number of yards on the Tigers.
"It was a lot," said KAHS football coach Dan Stroup. "We have a young group, and they're not responding to the coaching we're giving them. We're not improving."
On the offensive side alone, the Academy (0-4, 0-1) started three freshmen and three sophomores.
"We're not bothered by the losing, but we're not competing," Stroup said. "This should have been a knock-down, drag-out (fight), but our youth don't have the resolve to keep getting up and tackling."
Wickenburg sustained several long drives that put the Tigers in a 28-0 hole in the first half. The Wranglers first drive went 11 plays and 73 yards. Their second drive was 10 plays, 65 yards, and the third drive ate up 7 ½ minutes over 18 plays and 93 yards.
"We have to go back to the drawing board," Stroup said. "We're not seeing improvement, and that concerns us. It's a 'you can lead a horse to water, but you can't make it drink' kind of thing."
Academy got on the board with 15 seconds left in the second quarter on a quarterback keeper from the 1-yard line by Kannon Butler. He completed 3-of-6 passes with a touchdown and two interceptions. Butler combined with Nate Carter on a 9-yard scoring strike in the fourth quarter.
Clayton Holloway had a big night for the Tigers on his return to the lineup. Holloway rushed for 103 yards on 11 carries and ran back an 80-yard kick-off return for a score.
"He had no blocks whatsoever," Stroup said. "He did all that on his own."
Jordan McDowell-Seybert rushed for 47 yards in the loss.
Academy's leading tacklers came from the defensive backfield, which is not a good thing. Safety Tristen Pitts and Holloway, playing cornerback, each had 14 tackles. McDowell-Seybert had 10 from his defensive end position.
The Tigers face another hard rushing opponent at Parker (2-2, 1-0) this upcoming Friday. The Broncs rushed for 367 yards beating Kingman two nights ago, 34-6.
"Parker has tough kids," Stroup said. "They're traditionally a small school that has always competed against bigger schools. We have to increase our aggressiveness and toughness down after down."