Photo by Shawn Byrne.
KINGMAN – Lee Williams has been wanting to get off to a fast start and deliver a blow to another team before having to absorb one to itself.
The Volunteers did just that when Mike Bathauer blocked a Coconino (2-4, 1-1 4A Grand Canyon) punt just short of two minutes into Friday’s game, scooped up it up at the Panther 15-yard line and rambled into the endzone to get Lee Williams’ Homecoming Game off to the start LWHS football coach Jacob Iodence has been waiting for.
“We’ve been doing a lot of things the past couple of the weeks to compete, to come out fast, to punch them in the mouth and not get punched,” the coach said. “We did that.”
Lee Williams (3-3, 1-2) went on to win its first region game in a 21-6 victory that saw the Vols’ defense dominate the Panthers. Coconino’s offense didn’t score its touchdown, the Panthers scored when they blocked a Vols’ punt and ran it in late in the first half, and only managed five first downs for the contest. Three of those came in the final drive of the game.
“We knew they were similar, formation-wise, as last week,” Iodence said. “If you get to face the same formation two weeks in a row, you get better at it.”
Andrew Davis had six tackles, and Edmond Ashton and Matt Shaw each had five to lead the Vols. Tyler Miner had 1.5 sacks, and Matt Bathauer recovered a fumble.
Sophomore quarterback Andrew Herrera had his coming out party since taking over last week. Herrera was 12-for-15 passing for 180 yards and a touchdown. He rushed for 89 yards on 18 carries and another touchdown.
“This is a dream right here,” Herrera said. “I’m feeling good and very confident because my linemen are amazing blockers. They let me have time.”
Lee Williams made it 14-0 in the second quarter on Herrera’s 1-yard rushing touchdown.
Ashton added the extra-point.
It was 14-6 at halftime, but Lee Williams took the second-half kickoff and promptly went on a 11-play, 65-yard drive that culminated with Herrera scrambling and connecting with Justin Sturgill for a 23-yard touchdown pass.
“The thing I like about Justing is that if I roll out, he knows to run to an open area,” Herrera said.
“He adjusted and I just had to throw it over,” he said.
Sturgill caught six of Herrera’s passes for 129 yards and the touchdown.
The tough Grand Canyon Region tests keep coming for the Vols.
Lee Williams hosts Flagstaff (3-3, 1-1) at 7 p.m. Friday.The Eagles lost to Thunderbird in a non-region game, 38-14.