KINGMAN – Friday the 13th wasn’t kind to the Kingman Academy football team. Not only were the Tigers without starting quarterback Kekoa Makaiwi-Stroup and left guard Harlee Roberts, but they also lost Kannon Butler to injury in the first six minutes of a 30-20 loss to No. 19-ranked Tonopah Valley.
“It doesn’t matter what the reasoning, we have to step up as a team,” said Academy head coach Dan Stroup. “We have to play harder, obviously, when we’re missing key components. Not taking anything away from Tonopah, but they caught us at the right time with some key people out, and we did not play good defensively.”
The 17th-ranked Tigers (5-3, 3-1 2A Central) turned to Gabe Imus to run the offense, but the freshman struggled against The Phoenix (4-3, 2-1). Imus went 4-of-15 for 83 yards and three interceptions, including one returned for a touchdown. Imus did find success on the ground – rushing for 84 yards and a score.
Hayven Potter finished with three catches for 69 yards and Nate Perea had one catch for 14 yards.
Joey Martin rushed for 87 yards and a touchdown, while Tyler Wheeler rushed for 19 yards and a score.
Wheeler led the Tigers with 11 tackles, and Martin added seven and a forced fumble. Trevor Lowry, Tyler Balluff and Potter each finished with five stops and Baliff recovered a fumble.
The Academy fell into a 24-0 hole before responding with two touchdows in the second quarter. Tonopah added a score in the third quarter and then the Tigers tallied their final touchdown in the fourth.
Stroup expects everyone back this Friday as the Academy faces No. 20-ranked Paradise Honors (3-3, 2-1).
“As it you get closer to something, it gets harder,” Stroup said. “But Tonopah played really well. They played probably one of their best games.”