Prep Football: Academy hosts Parker in region clash
KINGMAN – The Kingman Academy High School football team is all too familiar with Parker as it has yet to record a win against the Broncs in the last four meetings. However, the Tigers believe they have what it takes to get a victory when the two teams meet at 7 p.m. today at Southside Park.
“It’s a big game,” said Academy’s Trevor Lowry. “Obviously they’ve beaten us in the past, but we’re pretty strong this year. It’s Homecoming, but our big motto this year is ‘ignore the noise.’ We’re not going to get too hyped up about it. It’s just another faceless opponent.”
The No. 24-ranked Tigers (3-2, 2-0 2A West Region) have dominated in their last two region contests, outscoring opponents by a margin of 104-28. However, the Academy knows the 26th-ranked Broncs (2-2, 1-1) are a more talented squad than Camp Verde and Sedona Red Rock.
“It’s a lot harder competition,” said Academy’s Bryan Jones. “We’re just going to have to adjust to that really fast. Don’t take them for granted. We have to play to the best of our ability.”
Parker has proven to be tough to stop on the ground this season – racking up 1,050 yards rushing. James Hoban leads the way with 453 yards and seven touchdowns, while Jose Cabrera and Shane Gottula have combined for 612 yards and four touchdowns.
“We’ve really focused on defense this week,” Lowry said. “We’re going to try and force some turnovers. We want to keep the ball as much as we can on offense.”
The Academy knows the Broncs don’t make it easy to run the ball, but the offensive line is ready for the challenge.
“They like to load the box, so we just have to watch out and keep our eyes open,” Jones said. “If we don’t have a guy on us, we have to look around and help our other guys out.”
On a side note, head coach Dan Stroup has made sure the Tigers keep their focus with this week being Homecoming.
“We do let them know that the game is the most important part of it,” he said. “... Sometimes the kids get too excited or too much into the festivities. I try to tell them, ‘you’re the important part on Friday night.’”