Despite some sloppy play, Mesa received enough big plays to defeat visiting Yuma 35-0 in a 5A nonregion game Friday.
“We were definitely better than last week (a 49-0 loss to Phoenix Desert Vista),” Mesa coach Kelley Moore said. “We still had a tremendous amount of unnecessary penalties, although most of our penalties were hustle penalties.”
The Jackrabbits (2-1) were penalized eight times for a total of 115 yards.
“They were trying to get over the hump of being embarrassed last week,” Moore said.
To overcome those penalties, Mesa got big plays out of its running backs. Senior Riley Owens had the biggest night, rushing for 114 yards and two touchdowns on nine carries.
“Coach (David) Brockmeier is his coach, and he’s been working real hard,” Moore said. “(Brockmeier) did the same thing with our fullback last year, and he’s been working with Riley to make similar things happen, so Riley had a banner night.”
Owens’ two touchdowns came on a 13-yard run in the first quarter and a 33-yard run in the second quarter.
Junior running back Devontae Kellybrew ran for a 68-yard score on the second play of the third quarter to give Mesa a 21-0 lead.
Junior quarterback Kyler Fackrell started for the first time and had an uneven game. Fackrell was 5-for-13 for 72 yards and threw two interceptions.
“This is his first shot out, he’s got a fantastic arm and we just had him put it up,” Moore said.
On the defensive end, Mesa recovered one week after giving up 49 points to Desert Vista.
“We were a lot more disciplined on defense; we tackled better,” Moore said.
The defense held the Criminals (2-2) to only 104 total yards.
Junior Jaymen Green and senior Taylor Fast each had an interception for the Jackrabbits.
Fast’s fourth-quarter interception led to junior running back Leo Francisco’s 9-yard touchdown run three plays later.