The move up from Division III to Div. II continues to go smoothly for Campo Verde, as the Coyotes cruised to a 37-13 victory over Thunderbird Friday night in Gilbert. The Coyotes have outscored their opponents 139-19 on the season, on their way to a perfect 3-0 mark.
Campo Verde rode the right shoulder of senior quarterback Luke Pineda, who torched the Chiefs defense for 241 yards and three touchdowns through the air. Pineda also led the Coyotes with 87 rushing yards.
“Luke is phenomenal, he is the engine that makes our team go,” coach Max Ragsdale said. “He is a three-year starter, he’s smart and he is very coachable.”
Campo Verde took the opening kickoff and went 80 yards to grab an early 7-0 lead. The drive was capped off by Pineda’s first touchdown strike of the night, a 35-yard pass to senior wide receiver Alex Madrid.
Thunderbird responded on the next drive with its biggest play of the game, a 57-yard touchdown pass from Jake Glatting to Adam Turner, tying the game up at seven early in the second.
Pineda threw touchdown passes on Campo Verde’s next two possessions, both to Jordan Fickas. The senior wide receiver finished the game with seven catches for 100 yards and two touchdowns.
“The offensive line did a great job up front, the receivers ran great routes and got open,” said Pineda, who completed passes to five different receivers. “I have faith in all my receivers, I don’t favor anyone.”
The Campo Verde defense was stout all game, holding Thunderbird (0-2) to just 38 rushing yards and forcing two turnovers in the second half. Campo Verde’s Matt Conrad intercepted a Jake Glatting pass and took it 80 yards for a Campo Verde touchdown, giving the Coyotes a 30-7 lead at end of the third quarter.
“We have nine brand new starters (on defense), they are doing a nice job absorbing what we are giving them,” said Ragsdale. “We are just keeping it simple and letting them play football and fly around.”
One of the standouts on the Campo Verde defense was junior defensive tackle Finton Connolly, who was causing havoc in the backfield all night.
“Overall I think I had a good game, I had some mental errors in the beginning of the game so I have to learn from those mistakes,” said Connolly. “This year we are running the 4-3, so I am the three technique and I enjoy it a lot. I think we are going to be better on defense that way.”
The schedule for the Coyotes will get more difficult starting next week against Division I foe Gilbert and following weeks against Highland and Marcos De Niza. Coach Ragsdale is embracing his young program moving up in competition.
“We have to continue to get better each and every week, we cannot be satisfied.”
Campo Verde 37, Thunderbird 13
First Downs: CV 20, T-Bird 14
Rushing: CV 35-180, T-Bird 29-38
Passing: CV 17-22-248-3-0, T-Bird 16-22-238-2-2
Fumbles-Lost: CV 1-1, T-Bird 0-0
Penalties-yards: CV 8-65, T-Bird 7-34
Campo Verde 7 14 9 7 - 37
Thunderbird 0 7 0 6 - 13
CV: Madrid 35 pass from Pineda (Wells kick)
T-Bird: Turner 57 pass from Glatting (Taylor kick)
CV: Fickas 19 pass from Pineda (Wells kick)
CV: Fickas 27 pass from Pineda (Wells kick)
CV: Wells 36 FG
CV: Conrad 80 INT return (2-PT failed)
T-Bird: Pelt 13 pass from Glatting (Taylor kick)
CV: Ogbonnaya 1 run (Wells kick)