A big-time player made big-time plays. Time after time.
That's how Chaparral broke open a close game and rolled to a 40-14 win at Pinnacle Friday night as both teams opened Desert Sky Region play.
Kyle Williams — who is "very, very strongly considering" a scholarship to play at ASU according to his coach — scored five touchdowns, including three on the ground, one receiving and another on a punt return.
"He's the best player I've ever coached," Chaparral coach Ron Estabrook said of Williams, who ran for 148 yards on 11 carries. "He's got speed, he can catch the ball; he can do it all." "We didn't have an answer for him," Pioneer coach Dana Zupke said. "That was the difference." With the win, Chaparral, ranked No. 3 in 4-A Division I, moved to 5-1 overall, 1-0 in Desert Sky Region play.
Pinnacle dropped to 5-2, 0-1. "I'm proud of our kids," Zupke said. Unlike past games against the elite competition, he said, "We battled the whole game. . . . We took a step forward with this game."
Williams opened the scoring by racing for 71 yards on Chaparral's second play from scrimmage.
"The coaches saw the opening, called the play and it worked," said Williams, who said he got his scholarship offer from ASU on Thursday.
Pinnacle tied the score when running back Karlo Conn ran 19 yards for a touchdown. Then, after an interception by Pinnacle's Brett Nicholas, quarterback Garrett Redd ran 35 yards to give Pinnacle a 14-7 lead.
But from this point on, Chaparral started to shut down the Pioneer offense, while Pinnacle couldn't do the same with Williams, who scored on an 11-yard run and a 66-yard punt return.
"I like to return punts," he said. "I just have to focus on catching them."
Then after a disputed play in which Pinnacle was ruled to have fumbled, Chaparral took over at the Pioneer 10-yard line.
Williams took the ball up the middle for a score and a decisive 33-14 lead.
Pinnacle's last chance to get back in the game ended early in the final quarter when Chaparral wasn't fooled by a fake punt try on a fourth-and-1 at the Chaparral 40-yard line.
Williams then scored one last time, outrunning the Pioneer defense and hauling in a 47-yard touchdown pass from Nick Neuenfeldt with 5:27 left.
"He's amazing," Zukpe said. "Definitely a Division I player." The Firebirds won despite stopping themselves several times with penalties.
"We made too many mistakes," Estabrook lamented. "Way too many.
"But you have to give them credit. They took it to us and caused us to get flustered at times."