MARICOPA — Last week Maricopa was able to secure a win over Surprise Willow Canyon, even with its mistakes.
On Friday against Waddell Canyon View, those mistakes proved costly and came back to haunt the Rams in a 17-12 loss.
In Maricopa’s first Friday night affair, the Rams started the first half with the ball, but on the first play, they fumbled the quarterback-to-running back exchange, which resulted in a Canyon View short field goal to take a quick 3-0 lead.
The second play of the game for Maricopa didn’t go any better. Running back Kevin McIntosh, filling in for Mister Chavis, fumbled the ball, and Canyon View recovered. This time the Jaguars capitalized when Ashton Zacher found Matthew Flores for a 6-yard touchdown to extend their lead to 10-0.
Things did not improve for Maricopa. On the Rams’ third possession of the game, starting quarterback Cipriano Childers took a hard hit and was slow to get up. Childers came back later in the game but would have to be taken out again due to concussion-like symptoms.
Without Childers, the Rams found a way to score as they handed the ball off to senior wide receiver Michael Moore on a jet sweep, and he ran it to the end zone for a 60-yard touchdown. Moore took some snaps at quarterback, but later on, the Rams looked to freshman Cassius Campbell to lead the offense. Campbell couldn’t get things going for the Rams.
“He’s a freshman that played like a freshman,” Maricopa coach Brandon Harris said. “He’s a talented freshman and he’s going to be a great quarterback here. He’s learning, but he did some good things tonight, and he did things that he can’t do.”
In the second quarter, Canyon View got back on the board to extend its lead to 17-6, as Zacher found Anthony Munoz-Ramirez for a 37-yard touchdown. Before going into halftime, Maricopa got a sack on Canyon View, but after the play there was pushing, shoving and punches being thrown between the Jaguars and the Rams. Two players were ejected, one from each team.
“There was total lack of discipline and respect for the game,” Harris said. “We acted like we never played football. Inexcusable things happened tonight, and we can’t have that.”
The Maricopa defense did make some plays against Canyon View to keep themselves in the game. Senior linebacker Racellus Johnson recorded two sacks, with one of them resulting in a loss of 11 yards. After that sack, Rams senior safety Dominic Hall forced an interception that set up Maricopa with good field position at the Jaguars 24-yard line.
Even though the Rams had good field position, they weren’t able to score and punted away to the Jaguars. The Maricopa defense forced Canyon View to punt, then right away on offense, Campbell connected with sophomore wide receiver DJ Scott for a 61-yard touchdown with 6:15 left in the game, as Maricopa cut the lead to 17-12.
The Jaguars offense couldn’t get anything going against the Rams defense, so they had to punt it away. The Rams had 5:03 remaining on the clock, as they needed to go 55 yards to win. Unfortunately for the Rams, they turned it over on downs.
There was 3:17 remaining in the game when the Jaguars got the ball back, but the Rams didn’t have any timeouts to stop the clock, so all Canyon View needed was a first down, then to take a knee. The Rams suffered their first loss of the season.
“Anything that could go wrong tonight, went wrong,” Harris said. “We got to get better everywhere. I love our kids; they are hardworking and they compete. They’ll rebound and learn from this, but tonight our effort was inexcusable.”
Chavis was inactive against Canyon View for precautionary reasons. In the first game of the year, Chavis got banged up by landing on the ball, which caused him to vomit in the end zone.
The Rams didn’t want to risk anything and decided to get Chavis ready for a big matchup against Scottsdale Saguaro, which played for the Open Division state title last season and is 1-0 this year after a 27-0 victory over Phoenix Brophy College Prep.