Prep Football: Tigers maul Cowboys in region opener

Kingman Academy’s Gabe Imus, above, finished with 181 yards receiving and three touchdowns Friday night in a 48-0 win over Camp Verde.

Photo by Beau Bearden.

Kingman Academy’s Gabe Imus, above, finished with 181 yards receiving and three touchdowns Friday night in a 48-0 win over Camp Verde.

KINGMAN – On a football team that features a strong senior class, it was a freshman who stole the show Friday night as Kingman Academy High School’s Gabe Imus racked up 226 total yards and accounted for four touchdowns in a 48-0 win over Camp Verde at Southside Park.

“I really give it all to the line,” Imus said. “I give it (Seth) Pitts, the center. He’s getting the ball there. The line is giving my quarterback time and it translates to me. It’s a good process. I love it.”

Tigers quarterback Kekoa Makaiwi-Stroup found Imus early in the first quarter to start the scoring and the duo never looked back. Imus even added a passing touchdown to Nate Perea, who finished with 64 yards receiving on three catches.

“He had another great performance,” Stroup said of Imus. “He’s a heck of an athlete as a freshman.”

Makaiwi-Stroup also shined for the Tigers, finishing 15-for-29 with 317 yards and four touchdowns and one interception. Hayven Potter added a 55-yard touchdown for the Academy (2-2, 1-0 2A Central Region), while freshman Charlie Anderson rushed for a TD to account for the final score.

Stevie Wusstig led the Tigers on the ground with 127 of the team’s 217 yards rushing.

“We couldn’t get anything going,” said Camp Verde head coach Jerome Rhoades. “They swarmed us pretty good. We’d think we’d start getting some movement on offense and then all of a sudden, we’d snap it over the quarterback’s head or we’d throw an incomplete pass or drop a pass.”

The Cowboys (1-3, 0-1 2A Central Region) finished with three turnovers that proved costly. However, the Tigers turned it over four times and that’s something Stroup knows needs to be fixed.

“We have to get where we’re not turning over the rock,” he said. “We threw a pick, we fumbled it and then we fumbled it again after a reception. We have to eliminate that. That will bite you in the butt, I don’t care who you play.”

The Academy defense, however, did play a solid game in holding Camp Verde scoreless. The Cowboys did have opportunities in the second half, but the Tigers continued to make stops.

“They put it together and played a great second half defensively and shut them out,” Stroup said. “… The main thing is we got the win and everyone got in the game.”

Tyler Wheeler finished with 11 total tackles, followed by Tyler Balluff with eight, Zach Matthes with seven and Kannon Butler with six. Matthes also added an interception for the Academy.

The Tigers are back in action Friday with a 7 p.m. road contest at Sedona Red Rock.

“We move on from here,” Imus said. “Whatever is in the past, is in the past. We’re looking forward to our region.”