Marauders prepare for Badgers
COTTONWOOD- It has the makings of a championship game, but officially it is just another game with both teams potentially playing for a bid into the Division III playoffs.
On Friday, the Mingus Marauders will travel to Prescott to take on the Badgers in their final regular season game of the year.
The Marauders (8-1, 4-0) are riding a six-game winning streak, two of which were shutouts. After losing to a Peoria team that has since only won one game, a 38-20 victory over Copper Canyon, the Marauders have kicked it in high gear.
They bulldozed their way through sectional opponents #16 Bradshaw Mountain (6-3, 2-2)
Yhey traveled to Coconino and put a stomping on the Eagles.
Last Friday, Mingus played host to the Flagstaff Eagles and held them to seven points while putting up 41 of their own.
The Badgers have had an on-and-off past couple of weeks.
They traveled to Flagstaff two weeks ago and lost to the Eagles 36-6, then they turned around and knocked the Bradshaw Mountain Bears down another notch with a 30-13 victory.
The Division III Section VIII crown is up for grabs Friday night.
With the Marauders undefeated in the section so far, the Badgers will have to play spoiler if they want a piece of the crown and possible a bid into the playoffs and they are in the perfect position to do so.
The Badgers hold a 2-1 record in the section, a victory over the Marauders leaves both teams at 2-1 in Division III Section VIII play, and the Badgers would hold the head-to-head match up leaving them as the Section VIII champions, if they were to win.
Mingus Head Coach Bob Young hasn't thought about the playoffs, or titles, but has kept his players focused on one thing, and that's on improving daily.
"Our focus is on improving daily, blocking, tackling, and assignments," Young said. "We don't talk about play-offs, or titles, it distracts from our fundamentals. The kids know what's at stake and we don't need to put added pressure on them by talking about it."
Along with playing the same teams in section, both the Marauders and the Badgers have squared off against similar opponents in the Moon Valley Rockets and Greenway Demons.
Both teams were handled easily by the Marauders and Badgers.
The Marauders defeated the Rockets on their homecoming night with a 51-20 victory before they headed to Greenway the next week and defeated the Demons, 20-14.
The Badgers faced off with Moon Valley in their week 4 match up and handed the Rockets a 27-10 loss. Prescott traveled to Greenway for their week 5 match up and shutout the Demons 48-0.
Both teams have a lot going for them coming into the final game of the regular season.
The Badgers are 4-0 at home this season and have averaged 265 yards on the ground and 88 through the air, according to MaxPreps.com.
Sophomore Quarterback Ryan Greene leads the way for the Badgers with 90 passing attempts on the year for 56 completions.
He has racked up 621 yards passing, and four touchdowns. Greene has been the main signal caller all year for the Badgers but five quarterbacks have snapped the ball, junior Dawson Winslow has the second most passing attempts with 17.
With 13 different runners so far this season, the Badgers have racked up 2,389 rushing yards on 334 carries.
Junior Christian Setter has led the way on the ground for the Badgers racking up 20 touchdowns, on 135 carries for 1,085 yards.
Greene is second on the team in rushing with 452 yards on 62 carries and has found the end zone nine times this season.
On the defensive side of the ball for the Badgers, they have racked up 32.5 sacks on the season to go along with 12 interceptions, according to MaxPreps.com. Senior Luke Roberts has lead the way for the Prescott defense with 59 total tackles, 13 of those coming for a loss, 11 of those 13 came via sack. Senior Kyle Peach has five of the 12 Badger interceptions and has been a force to be reckoned with in the inside linebacker position.
The Marauders have had a successful season as well, they bring a 3-0 record on the road into Prescott on Friday.
They are carried by a strong running game and have averaged 323 yards rushing per game this season. With a very balanced rushing attack the Marauders have four players with over 450 rushing yards on the season. Senior quarterback Jordan Upham leads the way with 635 yards on 89 carries.
Anthony Accurso, Tristan Clark and Alec Phyfer have been the main backs running the ball so far this year, but nine other running backs have been used throughout the season.
The Marauders have racked up 2,908 yards on the ground with their explosive running attack.
Mingus has been just as relentless on defense as they have three shutouts on the season and have allowed no more than 21 points in a game which came in their only loss of the season to Peoria.
The stingy defense is headed by a strong line backing core that consists of Pete and Tyler Kelly, and sophomore Cole Phelps who leads the team in tackles with an even 100, according to MaxPreps.com.
The younger Kelly brother, Tyler has racked up 10.5 sacks so far this season with Pete racking up 8.5.
Friday is more than just a regular season game as well, with a section championship on the line the rivalry between the Badgers and the Marauders will heat up.
Coach Young says it shouldn't be any different from the past 30 years.
"Prescott has always been a natural rival and we have had some great games over the past 30 years," Young said "I imagine this year will be no different."
With a possible bid to the playoffs on the line and the Division III Section VIII championship up for grabs, anything can happen in Prescott on Friday, as two heavyweights get set for battle.
Kick off is set for 7 p.m. Friday in Prescott.