Zach Woolley is a sports journalism student at Arizona State University covering Casteel High School athletics.
Casteel head coach Bobby Newcombe preaches to his players about building a foundation, and that foundation was strong on Friday as the Colts stymied the Pride of Mountain Pointe 35-6.
The Colts (2-1) held the Pride (2-2) scoreless up until the dying moments of the game, with Mountain Pointe’s only points coming on a garbage time touchdown by running back Devon Sparks. Newcombe was excited by his defense’s play in the trenches, but knows that there is still room to work.
“They are fundamentally doing some good things,” Newcombe said. “On the surface it feels pretty good, but we will see some of the details on film.”
While the defense held strong, the story of the game was the breakout from senior running back A.J. Murphy. Murphy ran for 160157 unofficial yards on 265 carries, as well as one of the four rushing touchdowns on the day for the Colts.
The senior had seen limited time at the halfback position before this game, only rushing for 12 yards on 6 carries on the season before an explosion against the Pride. Murphy attributes the big game to the work that the team put in during the bye week.
“Instead of taking a break, we actually came out harder,” Murphy said, his once white jersey full of grass stains. “We put in the work and we came out here and did our job.”
Having the rushing game going allowed for junior quarterback Landon Jury to get in a groove. When he was not feeding the aforementioned Murphy, Jury got hot, starting the game 7 for 7, including the first touchdown of the game, a 25-yard strike to freshman wide receiver Bear Tenney.
“The run game was there tonight so it really set up the pass,” Jury said. “It was really easy to find a lot of wide open guys.”
The Colts found the end zone the unconventional way as well. After forcing a Mountain Pointe punt deep in their own territory late in the third quarter, the Colts started the drive on the Pride 40-yard line. Sophomore athlete J.J. Newcombe, son of head coach Bobby, then came out as the quarterback in the wildcat formation, where he found a hole and took it to the house, opening up a then 21-point lead.
“We’re just mixing it up every week,” the sophomore said. “We are just trying to get the other team mixed up.”
Lost in the shadows of the electric offensive game for Casteel are the holes and protection that were created by the offensive line. The elder Newcombe made sure that his veteran offensive line received praise as well.
“We worked a lot over the past couple of weeks on some of their steps and all that and they came to play tonight,” Bobby said.
The Colts fired on all cylinders Friday, except for one: penalties. The team was called for 17 penalties throughout the contest, something that the elder Newcombe acknowledged.
“They (the team) come out to compete, and they compete on every single play,” Bobby stated. “They’re a feisty bunch and we want to channel that a little better going forward.”
Newcombe and his feisty bunch will now look ahead to their matchup next week, where they will head home to Joel Wirth Stadium and host the 0-4 Higley Knights.