For the ninth consecutive week, the Queen Creek defense once again proved to be too much for another opponent.
The Bulldogs limited visiting Campo Verde to 119 total yards and six first downs Friday in a 21-3 victory which should leave both teams with plenty of bumps and bruises.
“We knew this was going to be a physical, tough game,” Queen Creek coach Joe Germaine said. “We knew this was going to be a dog-fight coming in and it was.”
The third-ranked Bulldogs (9-0) have allowed only 35 points all season and have five shutouts to their credit. The Coyotes (6-3) drove inside Queen Creek’s 10-yard-line on two occasions and came away with just the three points.
Campo Verde forced four turnovers but was not able to take advantage of those opportunities.
“You have to take advantage when they give you an opportunity and we didn’t,” Campo Verde coach Max Ragsdale said. “They are so well-coached. They are just so good all over. Especially on defense.”
Matt Guida again led the Bulldog offense, rushing for 244 yards on 27 carries. His 32-yard run early in the second quarter gave Queen Creek a 7-0 lead.
“In the first half we were just off a little on offense, not executing our best,” said Guida, who had 136 yards in the first two quarters. “I think we did a better job finishing our plays in the second half.”
The Coyotes best scoring chance in the first half came when Josh Golden recovered a fumble at the Bulldogs’ 30. Campo Verde had a first-and-goal at the 8, but eventually settled for a 21-yard field goal and a 7-3 halftime deficit.
Queen Creek looked like it was going to have a larger lead going into halftime, but an interception at the Coyotes’ goal line on the final play of the half negated a scoring chance. The play started with :06.9 left and Germaine was hoping to take one more shot at a touchdown before attempting a field goal.
“It just didn’t work out. They made a good play,” Germaine said of Josh McDowell’s interception.
After four consecutive punts to start the second half, Queen Creek moved the ball well within Campo Verde territory, but Guida fumbled at the 1 after a 20-yard run.
But the Coyotes were forced to punt from the 10 and the Bulldogs got the ball back at the Campo Verde 36. Two plays later David Genantonio scored from a yard out for a 14-3 lead inside the final minute of the third quarter.
And an 11-point deficit against Queen Creek feels more than 30.
“We needed to make more plays, but that is not easy to do against that defense,” Ragsdale said.
Queen Creek linebacker Dean Wenger said with each game it feels like the defense is getting better.
“We have a lot of seniors on defense who love playing together,” he said. “I think we are getting more confident with each game. When you only give up 30 some points, you can’t get much better.”
It was the Bulldogs’ defense which helped seal the outcome in the fourth quarter. Mike Graff’s interception at midfield set-up a 42-yard scoring pass from Carson Jones to Kevin Parkinson for the 21-3 lead with 10:20 to play.
The Coyotes’ ensuing possession ended on downs at Queen Creek’s 7 and the Bulldogs ran off the final minutes to end the game.
Queen Creek hosts No. 6 ranked Williams Field next week. Wenger said he was impressed how focused his team was this week knowing what lies ahead.
“I was surprised, there wasn’t any talk about next week during practice,” Wegner said. “I think we’ve had that focus all season.”
Campo Verde 0 3 0 0 – 3
Queen Creek 0 7 7 7 – 21
First downs 16 6
Rushes-yards 41-298 26-54
Passing yards 116 65
Comp-att-int 6-17-2 8-20-1
Penalties-yards 6-65 2-10
Fumbles-lost 2-2 1-0