Prep Football: Volunteers end strong, upend Mohave 34-20
KINGMAN – It’s out with the old and in with the new for the Lee Williams football team as the Volunteers wrapped up the 2018 season with a 34-20 win over Mohave Friday at LWHS.
The one positive that can’t be overstated is the Vols (3-7, 1-5 4A Grand Canyon Region) won’t be taking a six-game losing streak into the off-season and 2019 campaign.
“It’s huge going into next season with a win,” said Clint Sasse, Lee Williams football coach.
The two teams traded scores throughout the entire game, but it was the Volunteers who proved to be strongest when it came to crunch time in the fourth quarter.
Mohave (2-8, 0-6) tied the game at 20-20 on a 19-yard touchdown run by William Robizine with 9 ½ minutes remaining. Robizine was the offense for the T-birds, carrying the ball 29 times for 184 yards and two TDs. He did, however, fumble twice in crucial situations.
Lee Williams took possession at midfield after the ensuing kickoff and in four plays retook the lead, 27-20. Donnie Simms’ 37-yard run set up Cameron Ott’s 7-yard TD run.
Simms, a junior, finished the night with 147 yards rushing on 18 carries and two TDs. He had to exit the game in the fourth quarter with bruised ribs.
During the Vols’ five-game losing streak, they never once scored more than 20 points.
“Everybody knew it was the last one and we had to go out and ball,” Simms said. “We knew we had to come out and give everything we had. It was a shootout.”
Mohave had plenty of time left to tie the game, but Robizine coughed up his second fumble on the T-birds first play from scrimmage after the Vols kicked off.
Lee Williams recovered at the Mohave 34 with seven minutes remaining. The Vols could only muster 12 yards and turned the ball back over on downs.
The T-birds advanced the ball to the midfield and resorted to its passing game in a comeback attempt. Mohave threw three consecutive incomplete passes before Lee Williams’ AJ Herrera picked off a pass on fourth down to just about seal the win for the Vols.
Ott scored his second TD of the game in the waning seconds, and the Vols were victorious on Senior Night.
“I’m glad we could send them out with a win,” Sasse said. “They deserve it. They have been working their butts off.”
The Lee Williams seniors did not want to let four years of good memories be tainted in the least with a loss in their final game.
“You never want to finish low,” said senior lineman Mike Bathauer. “We could have laid on our backs and let the score be 40-0. But no, we decided to come back. This was our Super Bowl. We wanted to finish on top.”
Bathauer should have this Senior Night game locked into his memories forever. The senior gave Lee Williams a 20-13 lead on the first play of the fourth quarter when Mohave had its snap fly over the head of the T-bird punter standing on his own 20-yard line.
Bathauer broke through the line, sprinted toward the ball that had rolled to the 1, picked it up and stepped into the end zone.
The lineman also punts for the Volunteers, and he had some empathy for his opponent.
“I’ve been in that situation as a punter,” the senior said. “It’s not fun. You’re thinking about a million different things, ‘I got to get it off, I’ve got to run it.’ My first reaction was to get us the ball and get us that score.”
Earlier in the second quarter, Bathauer ran for six yards and a first down on a fake punt.
Despite leaving the game early and falling short of a three touchdown game, Simms is ready for next year.
“You’re going to see a lot of this next year,” the junior running back said. “It happens in the summer. I’m so ready. I’m excited.”
Sasse can see Simms playing a huge role for the Vols in 2019.
“I think Donnie is a well-over 1,000 yard rusher for us next year,” the coach said. “It’s nice to have this night to propel him into next year. Donnie is a leader, too, and he’ll have everyone in the weight room.”
Before the Vols can have a lot of success, they’ll have to correct at least one issue. Lee Williams was flagged for five false starts in the win Friday.
“That has to be a big, big deal in our off-season,” Sasse said. “In a lot of our games that is what is holding us back. With the teams in our region, we have to become a more disciplined football team.”