SAN TAN VALLEY - After losing their last two matchups to solid competition, Combs could only hope that a matchup against an 0-4 Avondale West Point team would get them back on the winning track.
They were not able to separate themselves on the scoreboard as quickly as they had hoped, but by the end of Friday night, it was hard to ask for a better outcome. An interception on West Point’s first drive set the tone in Combs’ 48-13 stomping of the West Point.
The Coyotes struck first on the scoreboard and never surrendered the lead, but some mishaps and mental errors in the early going kept them from blowing the game wide open.
With a 14-6 lead, their third drive of the game was marked by a Dragons sack which set up a Coyotes 2nd-and-22. Then, two long quarterback keeps were brought back by false start and holding calls.
West Point was able to capitalize on a few early defensive blunders as well, including scoring a touchdown on 4th-and-8. It was enough to keep things a one-score game for the first 24 minutes, but after that fourth down score, the Coyotes were able to make adjustments; they cleaned up some penalties that hurt them early in the game and did not surrender another point.
“We kind of knew coming in we wanted a fast start, but sometimes it’s like lighting a lighter," Combs coach Travis Miller said. "Sometimes it takes a couple strikes to get it lit. We knew we wanted to start fast, but we eventually did what we planned on doing.”
One of those lighters that caught fire was junior quarterback Tanner Hale; he exploded for four rushing touchdowns on the night and was responsible for six overall, including a touchdown pass to wide receiver Hunter Clare to extend their halftime lead.
“He had a great game,” Miller said. “And that’s what we knew he was capable of. He’s a great running quarterback.”
The Dragons had no answers for the offensive show Hale put on; his runs accounted for the first four Coyotes touchdowns as the Dragons began to look like deers in the headlights.
They also had no answer for the offensive attack that opened up around him; Hale’s runs unlocked opportunities for Clare to move the chains on several occasions and for Michael Davenport to muscle one up the middle into the end zone.
As the Coyotes’ offense was unleashed, West Point began to look more and more discombobulated.
After coming out strong, the second half was bogged down by bobbed snaps, high snaps and back-to-back sacks from defensive tackle Brodee Tucker as the third quarter ended.
Between Hale, Davenport and Clare, the Coyotes took advantage of the bewildered Dragons and outscored them 20-0 in the second half.
The Coyotes now advance to 2-2 on the season; they are looking to carry that momentum into next week’s 4A Conference vs 3A Conference matchup against 5-0 Show Low.