Volunteers withstand Academy counterpunches
Lee Williams clinches city championship with 38-21 win
KINGMAN - Lee Williams and Kingman Academy exchanged blows for three quarters, but the Volunteers got in the last two and Lee Williams claimed the first-ever city of Kingman championship Friday at Kingman High School, 38-21.
"The Kingman Academy kids played their hearts out," said LWHS assistant football coach Ray Smith. "Every time we gave them a punch, they gave one back. They fought us the whole game."
Lee Williams (2-5 Division IV, 2-2 Section III) was the beneficiary of the big breaks that kept the Academy (0-7, 0-4) looking up on the scoreboard.
On the first play from scrimmage, Academy sophomore quarterback Kekoa Makaiwi-Stroup began to roll out but fumbled the ball off his hip. Lee Williams recovered on the Tiger 21 and two plays later the Vols' Jason Ruiz scored on a 3-yard running play. Drew Lisherness' PAT was good, and Lee Williams was up 7-0 with only 33 seconds off the clock.
"It was an outstanding game," said KAHS football coach Dan Stroup. "We turned it over on the first play and had to come out of a hole. That's being youthful."
The Tigers have only two seniors on their roster.
A second big break for Lee Williams came with about 10 minutes remaining and the Vols leading 26-21. Lee Williams had fourth-and-20 on the Tiger 27 when Vols' quarterback Daniel Mazon threw a pass over the middle to Paul Giglio. Academy's Clayton Holloway was called for a highly questionable pass interference penalty, which gave the Vols first down on the Tiger 12.
On the next play, Mazon hit Justin Sturgill for an 11-yard touchdown pass and Lee William increased its lead to 32-21.
"I'm proud of my kids," Smith said. "They felt a lot of pressure and I don't know why. Maybe it's me. Maybe I put too much on them about the city championship."
After beating Kingman last week, 42-20, the Volunteers can claim the title with their 2-0 record against their cross-town rivals.
Mazon completed 9 of 13 passes for 72 yards and two touchdowns. He connected with Landon Kramer on an 8-yard touchdown in the third quarter.
"There's nobody I'm more proud of than our quarterback," Smith said. "He's putting the ball on the money, and we should have caught a couple more that he threw."
Giglio rushed for 167 yards on 27 carries and a touchdown for the Vols. After starting tailback Nate Cottrell started experiencing back spasms, Giglio took over.
"The offensive line just did their jobs," the sophomore said. "They had blocks all day and I just found holes following the blocks."
Ruiz added another touchdown on a 1-yard plunge that put the Vols up late in the first, 14-6.
Makaiwi-Stroup was 7-for-15 passing for 97 yards for the Academy. Jordan McDowell-Seybert rushed for 132 yards on 12 carries and scored two touchdowns and a 2-point conversion.
"Lee came out, and they were prepared and played well," Stroup said.
Lee Williams hosts Mohave (2-5, 2-2) for Homecoming this upcoming Friday, and the Academy visits Kingman (1-6, 0-4).