Photo by Shawn Byrne.
KINGMAN – Every team begins the season wanting its shot at a region championship. Kingman Academy has reached that mark and a win over 2A No. 10 Paradise Honors at 7 p.m. Saturday in Buckeye would give the Tigers that coveted title. It’s not going to be easy.
Paradise (7-1, 4-0 2A Central) has only one loss and that came back on Week 1 when 2A No. 3 Santa Cruz Valley (7-0) got the Panthers, 40-14. Since then, it’s been seven consecutive wins.
“Paradise Honors is going to be tough,” said KAHS football coach Dan Stroup. “They are very big and very fast. We have our work cut out for us, but we believe in ourselves.”
The two defenses match up well on paper. Paradise gives up a little more than 13 points per game, and Kingman Academy (5-3, 3-1 2A Central) nearly 15.
The Tigers are led by senior Jordan McDowell-Seybert, who has 132 tackles and is No. 2 on that list in 2A. The Panthers have three defenders in the top 10.
The offenses also look comparable on paper, and both want to run the ball. Paradise rushes for about 312 yards per game with a three-headed monster. Sekou Tyler is No. 6 in 2A with 915 yards and 9.4 yards per carry. Brandon Brown is No. 8 with 790 yards/7.4 and Cristian Moga is No. 11 with 665/18.5.
Kingman Academy rushes for 244 yards per game, led by McDowell-Seybert. He’s No. 2 in 2A , rushing for 1,143 yards at a 9.8 yards per carry clip and has 17 touchdowns. Clayton Holloway is No. 12 with 654/7.6 and has eight touchdowns.
Paradise averages a little more than six passes per game. Kingman Academy’s quarterback Kekoa Makaiwi-Stroup has completed 52 percent of his passes for 746 yards, averaging 17.8 yards per completion. He’s thrown for five TDS and has three interceptions.
Turnovers could be the key to this game. Kingman Academy has 17 on the season and Paradise has eight. When the Tigers turn the ball over the outcome is true to form. Kingman Academy loses.
Yuma Kofa at Lee Williams
When the Kofa Kings visit Lee Williams at 7 p.m. today, the one thing for certain is that a two-game losing streak will be snapped. Both the Kings and the Volunteers have each dropped their previous two.
Kofa (5-3) was once 5-1 in the 6A Conference, but it comes in at 5-3. The Kings were outscored in those two losses by a combined score of 121-28, including last week’s 63-28 defeat to Yuma Cibola.
Lee Williams (3-5) gets a break from its Grand Canyon Region schedule in the 4A Conference. After beating Coconino Sept. 30, 21-6, the Vols have fallen to Flagstaff (32-7) and Bradshaw Mountain (55-12).
Lee Williams has adjusted its goals to finishing the season at 5-5. The Vols can get that done, but beating the Kings today and Mohave (0-8, 0-4 4A Grand Canyon) next week must be done.
Kingman at River Valley
After beating Odyssey last week 32-20 to end a 16-game losing streak, the Bulldogs travel to River Valley at 7 p.m. today in Mohave Valley. Calling it impossible for Kingman (1-7, 1-2 3A West) to upset the No. 17 Dust Devils (6-2, 2-1) wouldn’t be prudent, but the Bulldogs would have to pull off the nearly impossible.
Kingman played good football in the win over the Minotaurs, but two weeks ago River Valley thumped Odyssey, 70-0.
Hope for the Bulldogs to shock the world.