Shorthanded Mingus Union football suffers first loss

Mingus Union loses stars to injury, ejection in first road game

Mingus senior Alex Nelson receives a direct snap during the Marauders’ 36-26 loss at Chandler Seton Catholic Prep. Mingus Union used four players at quarterback in the defeat. VVN/James Kelley

Mingus senior Alex Nelson receives a direct snap during the Marauders’ 36-26 loss at Chandler Seton Catholic Prep. Mingus Union used four players at quarterback in the defeat. VVN/James Kelley

CHANDLER — In a battle of unbeatens, Mingus Union had to line up four players at quarterback but was still narrowly outscored.

The Marauders (3-1) closed out the non-region portion of their schedule with a 36-26 loss at Chandler Seton Catholic Prep (3-0).

“Overall it was a good game, it was a hard fought battle on both teams’ parts,” Mingus head coach Robert Ortiz said. “It’s a little tough when your starting quarterback gets a concussion and you can only do so much with your backup. That’s the glory of high school football. You’re typically only as good as your backups. You’re going to get nicked up and injuries and it happens but you got to move on and learn from it.”

AIA week 4 football scores

4A Grand Canyon

Bradshaw Mountain 42, Greenway 20

Coconino 56, Cortez 0

Prescott 56, Deer Valley 7

Tempe 18, Flagstaff 10

Lee Williams 53, Kingman Academy 0

Peoria 52, Mohave 14

2A VERDE

Trivium Prep 55, North Pointe Prep 38

Tonopah Valley 52, Chandler Prep 3

Needles (Calif.) 38, Parker 8

Veritas Prep 55, Glendale Prep 8

6A

Perry 75, Sandra Day O’Connor 68

Mesa 45, Trevor G. Browne 20

Westwood 34 Cibola 26

5A

Centennial 35, Cienega 0

Saguaro 59, Desert Mountain 28

Notre Dame Prep 63, Apollo 21

4A

Holtville (Calif.) 21, Yuma 0

Mesquite 61, Combs 0

Salpointe Catholic 42, Del Valle (El Paso TX) 27

Cactus 32, Estrella Foothills 19

3A

Show Low 40, American Leadership Academy - Ironwood 6

Wickenburg 38, Paradise Honors 30

Snowflake 50, Page 28

Kingman 46, Valley Lutheran 3

2A

Sedona Red Rock 41, Rock Point 14

American Leadership Academy - QC 23, Phoenix Christian 21

1A

Williams 65, Bagdad 12

Joseph City 45, Mayer 22

Anthem Prep 60 St. David 25

After starting quarterback and senior Antoine Zabala was knocked out of the game, the Marauders alternated between having senior running back/linebacker Alex Nelson take the snaps and sophomore backup quarterback Zach Figy line up as the signal caller. The Wildcat formation did mostly work for Mingus Union though, as the Marauders and Sentinels exchanged scores culminating with a 33-yard touchdown pass from Nelson to senior receiver/linebacker Chaz Taylor to give MUHS a 26-21 lead.

However the two point conversion failed and Seton Catholic responded with a 61-yard touchdown pass, after which they converted the two-point try and then added another touchdown late to ice the game.

“It was alright,” Taylor said. “We lost which always sucks but there’s some good and some bad like there is every game but I think the biggest thing is just keeping our head and injuries kind of killed us too and getting people thrown out.”

With the Marauders trailing by three, Nelson was ejected for kicking. As he left the field he explained to the coaches that the Sentinel tackler twisted his ankle.

In order to try and spark a comeback, the Marauders put Taylor, the back up quarterback last year, at quarterback. Heading into the game Taylor was Mingus Union’s leading receiver in terms of yardage and second on the team in catches.

“The whole offense is pretty much based around those two, so not only was it tough, it almost became impossible, but our kids prevailed, they fought hard, they did everything that they could to put themselves in a position to win,” Ortiz said about losing Zabala and Nelson. “Just a couple kids trying to over compensate and do too much and that’s where we gotta play assignment football.”

It was a feisty game that saw a handful of late hit, taunting and unnecessary roughness penalties. An on field official even scolded a member of the chain gang, who was wearing a Seton Catholic shirt, for relaying information to the Sentinel defense.

“It was a little chippy but it gets that way sometimes, you just got to keep your head and go on to the next play,” Taylor said.

After a scoreless first quarter, the Sentinels seemed destined to score with the ball inside the Marauders’ 10 yard line. After converting on a 4th and 1 from the three yard line, SCP had the ball just outside the goal line but Mingus Union’s defense kept the Sentinels outside the end zone.

The Marauders responded with 25-yard touchdown pass from Zabala to Taylor.

“It was a huge, it was a big momentum swing,” Ortiz said. “We call that that ‘the big mo’ in football we had a big momentum shift and I think it spoke for itself when we went right down the field and put some points on the board.”

Seton Catholic tied it up at 7-7 before the half ended and outscored the Marauders 14-7 in the third and 15-12 in the fourth.

Mingus Union finished the non-region portion of their schedule 3-1. The last time they started the season 3-0 was 2010 and the last time they had a winning record in non-region play was 2015.

“I’ve told these kids all week long that they surpassed and exceeded any expectations of myself and them coming into this thing,” Ortiz said. “It’s time to get back on track and get back to doing what we do best and we can do the same thing through out region.”

The Marauders open up the defense of their Grand Canyon Region championship on Friday at Coconino (3-0) at 7 p.m. Mingus Union’s next home game is on Sept. 21 when Lee Williams (2-2) comes into town.

“I’m impressed, we went 3-1, which is a lot better than last year, so hopefully we can carry that into the region,” Taylor said.

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