Higley was the more efficient team in Friday night’s football game against Casa Grande.
The Knights scored touchdowns on six of their eight full possessions in a 42-24 victory over the Cougars. With four TDs on its eight full possessions, Casa Grande couldn’t keep pace.
“It was supposed to be a shootout, but we couldn’t keep our guns firing,” Casa Grande coach Larry Branson said. “It was tough for the seniors on Senior Night, but they fought hard and left their blood and sweat on the field.”
Higley (4-5) outgained the Cougars 509-484 in total yards. The Knights rushed for 368, with Mythias Young gaining 164 and two touchdowns on 15 carries and Thomas Bush getting 161 and two TDs on 25 attempts.
Casa Grande quarterback Nick Elliott passed for 275 yards and two touchdowns and rushed for 169 yards on 21 attempts. Ryder McIntyre had two TD runs, and Stephen Mendicino had 123 yards on eight catches for the Cougars (2-7).
The Knights returned the opening kickoff 38 yards, then took nine plays to reach the end zone. Cole Cook’s 1-yard TD run and a two-point conversion run by Young put Higley up 8-0 with 7:56 remaining in the first quarter, and they kept the Cougars in catch-up mode thereafter.
Following McIntyre’s 28-yard kickoff return, Casa Grande marched 61 yards in 10 plays. Mendicino’s 11-yard touchdown catch with 3:56 left in the first pulled the Cougars within 8-6.
Both teams also scored on their second possessions.
Young had a 40-yard run to set up Bush’s 3-yard TD run with 2:45 remaining in the opening period. The three-play drive started at the Higley 48 following a 34-yard kickoff return.
Elliott had completions of 23 yards to Lane Risetter and 54 yards to Mitchell Thomas — who caught the pass after it bounced off Mendicino and a Higley defender — in a six-play, 75-yard drive that ended with McIntyre scoring from the 1 with 18 seconds to play in the first.
The Knights were stopped on downs at the Union 18 on their next series, but got the ball back two plays later on Corey Strnad’s interception return to the Union 17. Bush’s 3-yard TD run and two-point conversion run put Higley up 22-12 with 4:22 left in the second quarter.
The Cougars pulled within 22-18 with 2:04 left in the first half. The five-play, 64-yard drive began with Jacob Rogala’s 30-yard catch. Elliott’s 23-yard run gave CG Union a first and goal at the 8, and McIntyre scored from 5 yards out.
Higley began the ensuing series at its 11, and Young’s 53-yard completion to Javonni Allen. Ten plays later, Jacob Lamb caught a 7-yard TD pass from Young on fourth and goal with 4 seconds to play, and Jakob Normal’s PAT kick gave the Knights a 29-18 halftime lead.
The Cougars started the second half by driving to the Higley 12, but the 12-play series ended with a missed field goal from 37 yards out.
Then came another exchange of touchdowns. The Knights drove 80 yards in nine plays, taking a 35-18 lead on Young’s 2-yard run with 44 seconds remaining in the third quarter. The Cougars answered with five-play, 61-yard march capped by Risetter’s 27-yard TD catch with 11:10 to play that cut Higley’s lead to 35-24.
The Knights went 70 yards in three plays on their next series, with Young’s 30-yard TD run coming one play after a 38-yard run by Bush.