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Thu, Dec. 05

Prep Football: Bulldogs host Paradise Honors in final tune-up before 3A West Region play

Kingman’s Malakai Bell has eight receptions for 73 yards and a touchdown this season. The Bulldogs welcome Paradise Honors to town at 7 p.m. today. (Daily Miner file photo)

Kingman’s Malakai Bell has eight receptions for 73 yards and a touchdown this season. The Bulldogs welcome Paradise Honors to town at 7 p.m. today. (Daily Miner file photo)

KINGMAN – Sometimes it takes a setback to bring a team back to reality.

The Kingman High School football team had won three straight games before losing its first contest last week and head coach Cam Wierson has preached a simple message to the Bulldogs.

“Anyone can work hard for a week, anyone can enjoy labor when it’s fun and going well,” Wierson said. “Special men go hard with a good attitude when it gets hard. ‘It’s easy to grin, when your ship comes in, and you’ve got the stock market beat. But the man worthwhile, is the man who can smile, while his shorts aren’t too tight to the seat.’”

Only time will tell how Kingman (3-1) respond when it welcomes Paradise Honors (2-2) to town at 7 p.m. Friday.

The Panthers have racked up 1,258 yards and 14 touchdowns on the ground, led by running back Nathaniel Smith’s 730 yards and seven scores.

“Paradise Honors is the second-best team on our schedule,” Wierson said. “They should have beat Wickenburg, but couldn’t take care of the ball. They’re a team that spends time and energy in the weight room.”

The Panthers gave Wickenburg a run for its money in a 38-30 shootout that featured a 29-point fourth quarter.

The Bulldogs will host the Wranglers on Oct. 19, but first must focus on how to stop Smith and the Panthers.

“Paradise wants to run the ball,” Wierson said. “Smith is a very big and physical back.”

With that fact aside, Kingman will be at a slight disadvantage without its starting quarterback who leads the team in both passing and rushing yards this season.

“I’ve buckled down on the kids in the discipline department, specifically all the little things,” Wierson said. “Austin Dias is suspended Friday night for violating team rules. Darrell Mitchell and Powers Corbin will be running the quarterback spot.”

Dias has racked up 251 yards and four scores through the air and another 551 yards rushing and six touchdowns.

That will be tough to replace against Paradise Honors, but Mitchell knows the system as he was last year’s starting quarterback.

Corbin, meanwhile, has just one completion this year – a 68-yard touchdown in a win against Valley Lutheran.

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