LEADING IN:The Panthers came into tonight’s game with a 5-3-1 record and the favorite against the struggling Eagles (3-6).With a win over their rival and a little help elsewhere around the state, Coconino would make the playoffs.On paper, the game looked lopsided, but this is the Flag High-Coconino rivalry, upsets are the norm, and the Eagles’ year would be salvaged by playing the role of spoiler and keeping the Panthers out of the postseason, just as the Panthers had done so many times to the Eagles in the past.
THE GAME:The game had all the makings for a classic, the two old rivals trading body blows all night, with the Eagles surprising everyone in the Skydome by entering the fourth quarter with a 17-12 lead.Panther QB Yancey Ayres had a mammoth game, passing for 290 yards and a touchdown and also running for two more scores, and he led the Cats downfield to start the final stanza, capping the drive with his own 7-yard plunge.The Eagles weren’t done, as they countered the Panthers’ passing with their own running attack, Jabahra Nichols and Jon Sangster leading the way, finally bogging down deep in Panther territory and settling for the second of Adam Davis’s two field goals.After the Panthers bobbled the ensuing kickoff, recovered on their own 4, and lost ground on first down, they were faced with second-and-13 on their own 1-yard line in a 20-20 game and time winding down in the fourth, when Ayres launched a 49-yard bomb to Freddie Williams; before you could catch your breath, Ayres went deep again, connecting with Mark Young for another clutch 37-yard grab.The drive ended with Tauris Johns pushing in from six yards out with on the clock.The Eagles had one last gasp, but quarterback Daniel Rhoton’s bomb attempt slipped a bit from his hand and it ended up in Young’s intercepting arms.
Coconino 27, Flagstaff 20
AT THE END OF THE DAY:Coconino did indeed earn a berth in the Class 4A playoffs with this win.The Eagles ended 1993 with a 3-7 mark.In a series marked by close decisions and the underdog continually giving the favorite fits, this game was vintage Flag High-Coconino.
CHS:Ayres 5 run (kick blocked)
FHS:Nichols 33 pass from Rhoton (Davis PAT)
CHS:Blanton 9 pass from Ayres (pass failed)
FHS:Sangster 13 pass from Bradford (Davis PAT)
FHS:Davis 29 FG
CHS:Ayres 7 run (Young pass from Ayres)
FHS:Davis 38 FG
CHS:Johns 6 run (Ayres PAT)
Original story by Darren Urban of the Arizona Daily Sun; November 6, 1993