APACHE JUNCTION — The Apache Junction Prospectors will once again be in the mix for the 4A State Championship and are looking for some redemption this year, after being forced to forfeit in the play-in round last year due to COVID-19.

As an added advantage for the squad, the Prospectors will get to host a playoff game on their own home turf Friday when they take on the Kingman Lee Williams Volunteers.

Head coach Bruce Binkley is in his second year with the team, and he has made quick work in getting the Apache Junction group in a position to compete in the playoffs. He gives all the credit to his players for all the hard work they have put into making this year’s team a serious player to make some noise.

“We got a great group of kids, and they just go to work every single day,” Binkley said. “The excitement is pretty palpable. It has been a long time since we have had a home playoff game, I think the last time was about 11 or 12 years ago, so to be able to have it at home is very exciting. It has been a long year, but the kids are very proud of themselves as they should be.”

While Binkley understands that facing Lee Williams will be no walk in the park, he mentioned how his team has been doing their homework, trying to find a weakness that they can exploit when the lights come on Friday night.

“We have been watching a lot of film on Lee Williams,” Binkley said. “They are very fast, they have a very good quarterback and running back and their defense flies to the ball. But the kids are starting to understand that this is big time football and they need to get ready for it.”

Class 4A playoffs for, Apache Junction, Casa Grande Union and Poston Butte high schools.

The Prospectors offense has been led by the group of quarterback Gavin Limongello, running back Isaiah Savoie and wide receiver Garrett Garcia. The trio make up the main offensive attack for the Prospectors, with Garcia’s speed and secure catching prowess, Savoie’s hard nosed style running game and Limongello’s dual-threat skills and the ability to extend plays.

While those three get a majority of the credit, Binkley stated that his offensive line and defensive line have given them an edge throughout the season.

“Those guys have set the tone, I would say both of those groups of people have led our football team,” Binkley said, discussing his big guys up front. “Obviously Gavin, Isaiah and Garrett stand out because of their athleticism, but they can’t do anything if that offensive line doesn’t do what they do. Our defensive line has worked their tails off, they have done a really good job all season long.”

Although the playoffs add an extra intensity to each game, Binkley says that the team is going to stick to what they do best and stay true to the formula that put them in the position they find themselves in.

“We are going to do what we always do, and that is run the ball first, and run the ball to set up the pass, that is what we do,” Binkley said. “I don’t know what (Lee Williams) is going to do to us, they run three different defenses, but we are coached well enough and prepared well enough to block all three, so I think we will be OK.”


David Church is a reporter covering Eloy, Arizona City and sports. He can be reached at dchurch@pinalcentral.com.

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