It was a game that came down to the very last play, but Williams Field was able to escape with a 42-38 win over rival Higley in a 5A showdown.
Plenty was on the line heading into Friday night's matchup. Not only was Higley the eighth and final team in the Open Division rankings, the Knights have yet to beat Williams Field in the history of the two programs.
The first half of the game was nearly all Williams Field.
Going into the half, the Black Hawks were up 28-10, as Higley struggled with ball security early on. Two fumbles in the first half of the game were recovered by Williams Field, giving the team great field position it capitalized on.
At the half, Higley made some adjustments that allowed them to come out strong. After a fumble by Williams field and an interception, Higley found itself back in the game and at one point cut the Black Hawks’ lead to three. Despite their best efforts, however, it was not enough to stop Williams Field.
“This is going to sting for the next 24 hours, and it should. I don’t want them to ever be complacent with something like this, but we played great in the second half,” Higley coach Eddy Zubey said. “The sun will come out tomorrow.”
Offensively, it was a huge night for both teams. Higley quarterback Kai Millner passed for nearly 150 yards, completing 12 of his 22 pass attempts. On the ground, the Knights were able to rack up around 250 yards, putting them just over 400 yards of total offense.
Williams Field was able to put up more than 600 yards, which is quite a feat against a stingy Higley defense. Quarterback Mason Bugg passed for more than 310 yards on the night, completing nine of his 14 passes. Sophomore running back Kaden Cloud had the play of the game for the Black Hawks, taking the ball from his own 1-yard line all the way down the field for a 99-yard touchdown.
Meanwhile, running back Kendrix Lurry looked like a freight train for the Black Hawks, frequently taking some of the Knights’ would-be tacklers for a ride.
“I trust my teammates and I know that they trust me, so I give them everything I can to try to make a play,” Lurry said. “This win means everything. At the beginning of the season, this is the game we always think about. But winning it with the boys, with my senior class, it’s amazing.”
Williams Field Coach Steve Campbell said going into the season, they changed the model, which is what’s helped lead to the success they’ve seen.
“Let’s just do your job on the next play. Just do your job. Nothing else, nothing more, and that’s just what we kept on preaching to them and the boys executed and the boys came through. They’re the ones who have to execute it and they’re the ones who have to make the plays, and they did,” Campbell said.
Following Friday’s game, Williams Field (8-2, 5-0) will undoubtedly sit among the top of the teams in the 5A Conference, should they not sneak in the Open Division. Meanwhile, Higley (7-3, 4-1) will likely find itself on the outside looking in for the Open Division, but should secure one of the top seeds in 5A.
“Now we have an opportunity to probably play two more home games, and to be out on this field one more time," Zubey said. "More importantly, we have four to five more weeks with each other to continue building those bonds and create these friendships that are going to last a lifetime."
WF 7 21 7 7 -- 42
Hig 3 0 7 28 -- 38
Hig – Matt Godinez 10-yard field goal 7:25
WF – Mason Bugg 67-yard pass to Joshua Gale (PabloGonzalez kick) 6:34
WF – Kendrix Lurry 4-yard run (Gonzalez kick) 10:29
WF – Bugg 60-yard pass to Myles Taylor (Gonzalez kick) 9:10
WF – Lurry 16-yard run (Gonzalez kick) 2:52
Hig– Peyton Hill 6-yard run (Godinez kick) 5:56
WF – Kaden Cloud 99-yard run (Gonzalez kick) 5:41
Hig – Kai Millner 7 yard run (Godinez kick) 11:52
Hig – Hill 7 yard run (Millner pass to Eastman for 2 pt conversion) 10:26
Hig – Millner 1 yard run (Godinez kick) 7:21
WF – Donovan Guyton 3 yard run (Gonzalez kick) 5:19
Hig – Millner 10 yard run (no kick) 3:06