APACHE JUNCTION — The Apache Junction Prospectors opened up last season with a 25-point loss to the eventual 4A champions, Gilbert Mesquite. In the 356 days between then and Thursday night’s rematch, it feels as if the right storm of events has occurred for the Prospectors to come out on top this time around.
Despite starting the season with a three-game road trip, the Prospectors are off to a 3-0 start for the first time since 2009 and have done so averaging just under 40 points per contest.
Their offensive attack is led by a three-headed monster of quarterback Gavin Limongello, running back Isaiah Savoie and wide receiver Garrett Garcia.
Savoie and Garcia were on full display two weeks ago against Oro Valley Canyon Del Oro when the former rushed for 104 yards and the latter had 11 receptions for 214 yards.
Limongello’s dual-threat abilities came to light last week against Buckeye Youngker when he broke the school’s single-game rushing touchdown (5) record and tied the all-purpose touchdowns record (7).
But the Youngker game featured numerous penalties against the Prospectors. Head coach Bruce Binkley acknowledged the need to clean up those flags, but does not see them as a trend; he believes that continuing their winning ways is about tightening screws as they go forward.
“There’s just things that we have to do that every football team has to do in America and that’s play better, block better, tackle better and get after it,” Binkley said.
As the Prospectors tighten screws in practice this week, they will not have to have to game plan to contain a five-star quarterback like they did last season. Nonetheless, they still have a tall task ahead facing a 2-1 Wildcats team that won its last two games handily.
Senior quarterback Gerardo Saenz, who replaced now-Oregon Ducks quarterback Ty Thompson, found his footing last week with a five touchdown, 346-yard performance in their win over Combs. After a quiet week one, senior running back Blake Corner exploded for 139 and 204 rushing yards in the past two games.
Mesquite’s Hare brothers, head coach Scott and assistant Cory, pulled off their last two wins with “almost two completely different game plans,” according to Binkley; he largely credits them with the Wildcats’ success and views Thursday night as an opportunity to play a program who they want to replicate in many respects.
Leaving their first home game of the season with a victory means the Prospectors will have to continue doing what got them to 3-0 and not give Mesquite opportunities to capitalize on unforced errors.
“We’re just going to line up to what we see and be fundamentally sound,” Binkley said. “They’re not real tricky on offense or defense. They’re just very good at what they do. They have very good athletes and they have very good coaches and if you make one mistake, they’ll make you pay for it.”