Flag Returns to Throne

November 4, 1994

NAU Walkup Skydome

 

LEADING IN:  Flag High came into the ’94 game on cruise control, boasting an 8-1 record (5-1 Grand Canyon Region) and was looking to be in the middle of the pack for the 4A playoffs.  Coconino was at the other end of the spectrum, struggling at 2-7 (2-4 GCR), their postseason dreams dashed weeks before.  While the Eagles had a two-pronged rushing attack led by Josh Bradford and Jabarha Nichols, as well as a suffocating defense that had recently laid waste to Sunnyslope and Sinagua, the Panthers were inconsistent, losing the prior week to Page.  Truly, Flag High was the clear-cut favorite on paper.  Then again, how many times in this series have we seen the underdog give the favorite all they could handle, even win and upset playoff aspirations?  If nothing else, Coconino came into the game as defending city champions, and this is a game where pride matters dearly.

 

THE GAME:  Darren Urban, sports editor at the Daily Sun, had predicted a blowout win for the Eagles; assuming he was at the game, he must have been beside himself when the heavily-favored Eagles led by a mere 7-0 score at the start of the fourth quarter.  Bradford and Nichols were running all over the field, amassing over 300 yards rushing between the two of them, but missed opportunities and key penalties plagued the Eagles, and the Panthers were able to hang around, looking for their chance for the major upset.  While the Eagle offense was racking up statistics and not points, their defense continued their dominating ways, holding the Panthers to 118 yards in total offense.  Though they were able to keep the score close for most of the game, the Panthers were just unable to get anything going when they had the ball, moving into Flag High territory only once in the second half.  Bradford, who finished with 169 yards on the ground and had thrown an option pass for a touchdown, cemented the win early in the fourth quarter with a 13-yard scamper and dive over the pylon for the second and final touchdown of the night.  In the end, Flag High took advantage of just enough opportunities, and they simply didn’t give any to the Panthers.

 

Flagstaff 14, Coconino 0

 

AT THE END OF THE DAY:  Both Bradford and Nichols finished the regular season with 1,000 yards (1,501 and 1,053 respectively).  Flag High played Sabino in the first round of the playoffs and were crushed, 41-14.  Coconino ended 1994 with a disappointing 2-8 record.  The rivalry game, however, lived up to its perpetual hype, and what was predicted to be a lopsided win became another competitive battle, another defensive struggle, and another classic where the underdog damn near played spoiler.

 

SCORING SUMMARY

 

1

2

3

4

F

Flagstaff

0

7

0

7

14

Coconino

0

0

0

0

0

 

FHS:  Wells 8 pass from Bradford (Tribble PAT)        

CHS:  Bradford 13 run (Tribble PAT)

Original story by Darren Urban of the Arizona Daily Sun; November 5, 1994





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