APACHE JUNCTION — Over the course of the last five seasons, the Apache Junction Prospectors have made it to the 4A state playoffs three times, not including a play-in appearance that was forfeited due to COVID-19.
In those three games played, the Prospectors were unable to get past the first round. However, this season, the Apache Junction squad is hoping this year will be the year, as they will open their playoff road hosting Prescott on Friday night.
For the Prospectors, there is a sense of urgency to make this the year they win it all, as their quarterback and number one wide receiver — Gavin Limongello and Garrett Garcia — are seniors.
Limongello has proven to be one of the best quarterbacks in Pinal County. The signal-caller finished his final regular season with 1,513 passing yards and 13 touchdowns. Limongello continued to be effective in the ground game as well, rushing for 829 yards and scoring 10 touchdowns.
Garcia was once again, Limongello’s favorite target as he tallied 752 receiving yards and scored eight times.
“They just need to be themselves (on Friday), they don’t need to do anything outside of the box, they just need to keep their heads about them,” Prospectors head coach Bruce Binkley said about the senior duo. “When things are going well, stay with it. If they aren’t going well, we need to keep it together.”
While Limongello and Garcia will look to keep the Badgers on their toes through the air; on the ground, running back Isaiah Savoie continues to be a dangerous weapon for the Prospectors.
Savoie replicated his stellar numbers from his sophomore season, as the now junior reached the end zone 24 times this year, the same number he recorded in 2021.
Savoie’s athleticism and elusiveness make him one of the best tools the Prospectors have in their arsenal.
Limongello, Garcia and Savoie make up what Binkley calls a “three-headed monster” on offense. While it will be no different Friday night against the visiting Prescott Badgers, the three offensive stars will also be playing key roles on defense during the playoffs.
“If you’re going to double team (Garcia), we are going to hand the ball off to (Savoie). If you try to stack the box, (Limongello) is going to throw it outside to (Garcia),” Binkley said. “Playoff football comes down to running the ball well and stopping the run, and all those kids are going to play both ways now. I told them to get ready, because they are not coming off the field.”
While Binkley has a lot of confidence in his Prospectors, he understands that the Badgers will be a tough task for his squad. However, Binkley said that his team is well prepared and ready for anything that comes their way.
“Prescott is a good football team, but one of the nice things is that we played the number one, two and four teams in the state, so we have lined up against the best and Prescott is right up there with them,” Binkley said. “We just need to keep our focus and play our tails off.”