Photo by JC Amberlyn.
SURPRISE – Kingman Academy’s varsity football team was bowled over by a three-pronged running attack Saturday night, losing 61-15 to Paradise Honors in a game that determined the 2A Central champ.
The Tigers had good practices during the week and felt prepared to meet a team that features three of the region’s top running backs rushing for more than 300 yards a game.
“We thought it would be tough, but we didn’t think that would happen,” Academy coach Dan Stroup said. “It was just one of those games where you want to burn the tape and start over.”
Stroup said Paradise Honors’ three backs were “kind of special,” and the Tigers’ defense couldn’t key on them.
“They just overwhelmed us. The defense did not play well. They (Paradise) had some long runs. (Brandon) Brown, their fullback, he just controlled the game. We couldn’t slow him down.”
There were plenty of other mistakes, the coach added, like a couple of blocked punts and one that ricocheted off a lineman’s helmet for negative yards. It set Paradise up for an easy score.
Kingman Academy had its moments. Clayton Holloway ripped off a 99-yard touchdown run and finished with 166 yards on 12 carries, and Jordan McDowell-Seybert rushed 17 times for 146 yards, including a 48-yard burst, scored a touchdown and two-point conversion.
“So we moved the ball there,” Stroup said. “They did all right, just not at the right time.”
Quarterback Kannon Butler completed four passes in 15 attempts for 43 yards.
It was the most points surrendered by the Tigers’ defense since giving up 28 in a season-opening loss to Bourgade Catholic. Opponents were held to 20 points a game or under since then.
The Tigers weren’t physically beaten up, but they were pushed around, Stroup said.
“We had two good backs, they’ve got three. In a large percentage of our games, we were the faster team. They were the faster team,” he said.
Kingman Academy (5-4 overall, 3-2 in region) hosts Mohave Accelerated at 7 p.m. Friday at Southside Park in the regular season finale, which is Seniors Night.
Stroup said he’s hoping second place in the region is good enough to make the AIA Top 16. Three years ago, the Tigers made the playoffs as a third-place team.
“We’re just going to see what happens. You never know. I wish we’d have taken care of business (Saturday) and we didn’t have to wait to see what it is,” Stroup said.