Last week, Corona del Sol looked like a team that hadn’t figured out its identity after a crushing 50-0 defeat to Chandler High School.
After Friday night, the Aztecs most definitely figured out who they are as a team, defeating the Perry Pumas 21-13.
From start to finish, the Aztecs had the game firmly grasped in their hands. On the team's first possession of the game, the Aztecs were able to find the running game, something they haven’t done this season.
After a couple of impressive runs from running back Jonathan Kubat, the Aztecs delivered the first punch and never looked back. On his first throw, quarterback Connor Ackerley found his right hand man Raiden Vines-bright for a 23-yard touchdown pass, giving the Aztecs a commanding 7-0 lead.
“We just set the tone. It started on the ground. The offensive line dominated the line of scrimmage. We had to run the ball if we needed to win the game. Everything just seemed to click and the offense got rolling from there,” said Ackerley.
When talking to wide receiver Raiden Vines-bright about what he saw before his touchdown reception, Vines-bright seemed to have found a mistake made from the Pumas secondary. “The corner was biting down hard on my inside move, so I just broke outside and boom, touchdown,” said Vines-bright.
But that was not the last time the Aztecs found the endzone before the quarter ended. Running back Javon Gomez scored the team’s second touchdown just as the quarter came to a close. Gomez ended the night with 15 carries for 43 yards.
Throughout the game, whenever the Pumas had an opportunity to change momentum, the Aztecs were ready to make a play. After running back Brock Ford scored the Pumas’ first touchdown, Corona del Sol’s defense prevented the Pumas from converting the two point conversion, keeping the score at 14-6.
Just before the half, Ackerley and Vines-bright found themselves connecting in the endzone for the second time, with a little under 40 seconds to go. Despite the Aztecs only being up by two scores, the game seemed to be almost over.
When the second half began, the Pumas were able to sneak up on the Aztecs. Quarterback Jack Amer made a spectacular play, breaking multiple tackles for a 35 yard touchdown run, cutting the deficit to 21-13.
Overall, the Pumas offense was centered around Amer and his ability to create plays on the ground. Amer ended the night with 13 carries for 134 yards.
With under three minutes to play in the fourth quarter, the Pumas had one last chance to salvage their home opener. On a 4th down and 11, Senior outside linebacker Tristain Shafer was able to put an end to the Pumas night by sacking Amer and finishing what was a complete all around game by the Aztecs.
“It’s a big win. It’s week three which is kind of that turning point in the season. We wanted to prove that we could get better each week and then raise the standard of Corona del Sol football which we feel like we’re in the process of doing, said Barro.
Next week, the Aztecs will be back in front of their home crowd against Sunnyslope, in hopes of improving their record to 3-1 on the year.