Current 2A East Region bottom dwellers meet Friday

Photo By Raymundo Frasquillo: Morenci fullback Matthew Harrington (24) averaged 4.0 (15-60) yards per carry and picked up four first downs against Thatcher Sept. 15. The sophomore also averaged 4.0 (7-28) yards per carry against Saint Johns during a 47-12 loss Sept. 22.

By Raymundo Frasquillo

SAN CARLOS – The sixth and seventh place 2A East Region teams, both 0-2 in region play, will meet in San Carlos Friday, Sept. 29. Tenth-ranked Morenci (3-2 overall, 4.0580 rating) visits 25th ranked San Carlos (2-3, minus 3.0141).

Since the series began in 1995, Morenci has posted wins in 12 pairings with seven shutouts, and a 49-5 (585-61) average score per game or a 44-point margin over San Carlos.

The rest of the 2A East members are Thatcher and Saint Johns 2-0 each, Eagar Round Valley 1-0, Pima 1-1, and Miami 0-1 in region play.

Initial 2017 rankings (Sept. 26) have the Wildcats’ five previous opponents with ranking of No. 16 of 40 Tonopah Valley (3-2, 1.7063), No. 21 Benson (1-3, minus 1.2060), No. 23 Willcox (2-3, minus 2.5852), No. 2 Thatcher (6-0, 13.0131), and No. 9 Saint Johns (4-2, 5.0219).

The upcoming region pairings are Oct. 6 with Round Valley (5-0, 10.2646 for No. 3), Oct. 20 with Miami (2-4, minus 6.3548 for No. 31), and Oct. 27 with Pima (4-2, 4.0050 for No. 11).

Also left on the schedule, the remaining non-region opponent Tombstone on Oct. 13 is currently 0-5 overall with a minus 12.5585 rating for No. 39.

The Wildcats have a pair of losses following three consecutive wins, but the overall team philosophy has not changed, only adjusted. Morenci is still primarily a running team.

Photo By Raymundo Frasquillo: Junior drum major Ruben Valle-Ramirez and the Morenci Pride Band traveled with the football team to Saint Johns on Sept. 22. The band wound up ferrying the team to its destination after the bus broke down en route.

First-year Morenci head coach David Gallegos anticipated using the Sept. 15 Thatcher game, a 36-6 loss to the Eagles, as a Litmus Test of where his program was at that point of the season. He found out.

The 47-12 loss to the Redskins in Saint Johns last week came after a 12-6 opening period and 20-12 halftime deficit. A 27-0 second-half shutout was not because the Redskins did something the Wildcats were not prepared for.

“They didn’t do something where we said we didn’t see that coming,” Gallegos said. Morenci just did not do what it needed to.

The Wildcats may not have been completely focused on the game with the Redskins, having their mode of transportation breakdown in an area out of cell phone range, missing their pre-game meal, and having a half-hour delayed start.

A team averaging over 300 yards rushing was held to under 70 yards, totaling 69 yards on 39 carries for 1.9 yards per carry average, and logged more interceptions than passes completed.

Individually, sophomore Christopher Deck averaged 5.4 (5-27) yards per carry, junior Isaac Pacheco 4.8 (4.19) yards, sophomore Matthew Harrington 4.0 (7-28) yards, senior Steven Chavarria 2.0 (7-14) yards, junior Ruben Casillas 1-2, junior Mark Roybal 10-(minus 8), and junior Collin Batchelder 2-(minus 13).

Roybal completed 1-3 passes for four yards with an interception and Batchelder was 0-3 with an interception. Deck caught a pass for four yards.

The prior week, the Wildcats averaged 4.0 (49-196) yards per carry compared to Thatcher’s 10.9 (36-391) yards in a home loss.