By Sam Conner
The Bulldogs defeated the Monument Valley Mustangs 35-6 in their opening game last Friday night in Winslow. The game was sloppy, with many turnovers and penalties, but the Bulldog defense completely controlled the Mustangs and had many scoring opportunities through the turnovers.
These teams split a pair of games last year. The Mustangs nipped the Bulldogs 24-23 in the season opener at Kayenta on their way to a superb 10-0 regular season only to lose to the Bulldogs 40-6 in a first round playoff game. Winslow finished its season at 12-5 after losing to Sabino 48-0 in the next playoff game.
Monument Valley recovered a Winslow fumble on the opening kickoff last weekend and the Mustangs got a first down, but then lost yardage and were forced to punt.
Winslow hit a long pass from Junior Villanueva to Yoann Djassa to the Monument Valley 10 yard line. The Bulldogs lost a fumble there, but got it back when the Mustangs fumbled in a game filled with early mistakes.
A fourth down pass to Djassa got the Bulldogs to shadow of the Monument Valley goal and Damon Avalar scored on a one-yard run. A two-point conversion pass to Jason Lyons gave the Bulldogs an 8-0 lead with the first quarter over half over. Winslow scored on a 30-yard pass from Villanueva to Darrien “Peanut” Brown. The pair combined for a two-point conversion pass on the last play of the first quarter, which ended with Winslow leading 16-0.
The Mustangs drove to near the Bulldog 30 yard line where they lost a fumble, but once again Winslow lost a fumble on the next play. Monument Valley could not move the ball and turned it over to Winslow on downs.
Winslow moved the ball quickly with a long pass to Djassa and a series of running plays. Brown ran into the end zone, but that score was negated by a holding penalty. Winslow got a first down on a penalty on a fourth down play and Brown scored on a two-yard run. The conversion pass failed and the Bulldogs led 22-0 with two minutes left in the half.
One of Monument Valley’s best plays of the half, a 40-yard run by quarterback Jonah Hale, was negated by a penalty with just seconds left in the half, which ended with Winslow leading 22-0.
Winslow recovered another Mustang fumble to end their first drive of the second half. The Bulldogs moved in threatening position and scored on an 11-yard run by quarterback Villanueva on a fourth down play. Avalar booted the conversion for a 29-0 Winslow lead.
The Mustangs could not move the ball, but after their punt they recovered another Winslow fumble. As had happened before, they fumbled it back to the Bulldogs on the next play. The third quarter ended with Winslow leading 29-0.
Noah Upchurch scored for Winslow on a five-yard run, but the conversion run failed and Winslow led 35-0 with most of the fourth quarter left to play.
The Bulldogs intercepted a Monument Valley pass following the touchdown and began to play mostly reserves.
The Mustangs scored on a 38-yard pass from Stanford Staley to Stan John with just 13 seconds remaining to play. The conversion failed and the game ended on the next play with Winslow winning 35-6.
The Bulldogs will host their Homecoming game with the Page Sand Devils on Friday, Sept. 1, at Emil Nasser Stadium. That game will start at 6 p.m. due to the homecoming ceremonies. Page beat the Blue Ridge Yellowjackets 40-6 in their season opener and met Coconino on Friday.
Monument Valley will stay on the road and play Holbrook on Friday. The Roadrunners opened their season last Saturday in Flagstaff with a 32-6 loss to Wickenburg in the Kickoff Classic.