Queen Creek quarterback Devin Larsen found Jett Koester for a 46-yard touchdown pass on the first drive Friday night and the 5A Bulldogs never looked back, defeating 6A Chandler Hamilton, 41-28.
The two teams were briefly tied, after University of North Carolina commit Tyler Shough, connected with Manny Armenta up the left sideline for a 65-yard strike to tie the game at 7. But then the hundreds of fans that showed up to Jerry Loper stadium tuned into the Devin Larsen show.
First, the 6-foot-5 gunslinger marched the Bulldogs up the field, mixing in handoffs to both Trey Johnson and Dylan Borja, before finding Garrett Duke on back to back passes. The first a 14-yard strike across the middle. The second found the endzone, a fade to the corner that Duke stretched out fore and reeled in.
Before the first half ended, Larsen tagged on one more passing touchdown, finding Dylan Borja for a 9-yard score to put the Bulldogs up 27-14. With his three-touchdown performance and a victory over a 6A power team, Larsen said his success came from a well-executed game plan.
“I knew what I was expecting them to run and our coaches gave us a game plan for the defense and we executed it very well,” Larsen said after the game.
He had started as a sophomore for the Bulldogs last year and led Queen Creek into the semi-finals of the 5A state championship. This year, he has seemed more mature through the first two games of the year and head coach Travis Schureman has noticed.
“We know we have a pretty good quarterback in Devin Larsen and I’ll tell anyone that wants to hear me say that,” Schureman said. “Ya know what he was poised, he was relaxed tonight and didn’t ever get rattled, I mean he got hit pretty hard a couple times and he got right back in and threw dimes. Were sure glad he’s with us."
While the Queen Creek offense was moving the ball with ease, the defense was doing the same. After a big game last week, senior tailback Jawhar Jordan Jr. was held in check for most of the night and Tyler Shough had to create offense through the air. Shough threw for two touchdowns and connected with Brenden Rice early in the 4th quarter for a 25-yard pass that set up a Jordan five-yard TD run.
The score brought the Huskies within six and it seemed like the tides were turning with nine-minutes left. The Bulldogs settled in though, pounding the football on the ground and executing short passes for easy yardage. On the game capping drive, Dylan Borja snapped off a 60-yard run to put them in Huskies territory and the Dante Coleman finished it off with a five-yard touchdown run.
“Our kids never panicked, they stayed the course,” Schureman said of his teams ability to hold off the Huskies late. “We talked about just going one play at a time, staying the course and when we gotta make plays, make plays and our defense made two big stops in the second half right out of the gate.
The Queen Creek Bulldogs improve to 2-0 on the season and will host Tucson Sahuaro (0-1) next week. The Hamilton Huskies fall to 1-1 in their 2017 campaign after opening the season with a win against Boulder Creek. They will travel to Mesa Red Mountain on September 1st.
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