FHS Repeats as City Champs

November 3, 2006

NAU Walkup Skydome

 

LEADING IN:  Flag High came to the Rivalry Game in good shape.  Their overall record was 7-3, 2-1 in the 4A-II Grand Canyon Region, looking to nail down second place, and sitting at #11 in the power rankings.  They started out on fire, winning their first five games, most of them lopsided, including a 66-0 pasting of Boulder Creek.  Their offense was a balanced attack; Luke Hawthorne quarterbacked efficiently and effectively, and Aaron Corbiere was capable of a big game on the ground at any time. 

 

Coconino was not doing quite as well.  They were 2-7 (1-2 GCR) and riding a three-game losing streak.  They had a solid running game, averaging 189 yards a game and led by senior Sean Marion; he entered the Rivalry Game with 821 yards in nine games, including 152 the previous week against Sinagua.  Their passing game was virtually non-existent, gaining a mediocre 47 yards a game, throwing only two touchdowns versus twelve interceptions.  Their defense kept them in several games, collecting 18 takeaways and 19 sacks in nine games, led by seniors Levi Daulton and Matt Ortiz.   

 

This game was Flag High head coach Craig Holland’s 100th Dome game.  It was also his nineteenth Rivalry Game at the helm, having been on the sidelines as an assistant numerous other times.  Against Coconino, he was an even 9-and-9. 

 

THE GAME:  Flag High got on the board early and often.  Starting with Jordan Brandel’s 26 yard field goal, the Eagles scored again in the first quarter on a Hawthorne jumpball in the end zone to James Brooks for a 17-yard touchdown.  The Panther D could do little to stop Flag High’s offense at all in the first half as Corbiere scored twice in the second quarter, from the 5 and from the 1.  For the last score of the half, Hawthorne handled a bad field goal snap, and instead of trying to place it for Brandel to kick, he picked it up, eluded a few would-be tacklers, and threw across the field to a wide open Kasper Axtell for a 30-yard touchdown.  Halftime mercifully came with the score:  Flag High 30, Coconino zip.

 

The Panthers got their first score in the third quarter by way of defense.  Axtell lined up to punt in his end zone, and as he received the snap, Coconino senior Michael Combrink was all over him and tackled him for a safety.

 

Flag High tacked on two more touchdowns in the fourth quarter.  First, Hawthorne threw to Tim Serrano down the right sideline for a 42-yard catch-and-run, assisted by a terrific Matt Shirley block to spring him.  Shortly thereafter, Patrick Bailey raced down the left side and tiptoed the final few yards for a 36-yard score.  The Panther offense finally got some points, as Will Atherton found Levi Daulton for a 21-yard touchdown pass, and Marion cashed in the two-point conversion on the ground.

 

Coconino was whipped on both sides of the ball.  To compound their inability to slow down Hawthorne, Corbiere, and the rest of the Eagle offense, they were anemic at best when they themselves had the ball.  Their usually-reliable running game yielded only 81 yards, over 100 below their average, and Marion was held to 48.  They committed five turnovers and Atherton threw three interceptions, two to Brooks Degomez. 

 

Flagstaff 44, Coconino 10

 

AT THE END OF THE DAY:  The Eagles ended the regular season at 8-3, seeded #11 in the playoff brackets, and traveled to Apache Junction for the first round.  For as efficient as Hawthorne was against Coconino, he was the opposite against the Prospectors, throwing seven interceptions.  Even with all the mistakes, the Eagles led the defensive struggle, 12-0, until well into the third quarter, when AJ sophomore Shane McCullen scored on long runs of 62 and 41 yards; he burned the Eagles for 216 yards on 35 carries.  On the last drive of the game, the Eagles were down, 15-12, had the ball, drove into field goal range in the final seconds, but Brandel’s 45-yard field goal attempt to tie fell just short of the crossbar.

 

Coconino finished 2-8, 1-3 in regional play, good enough for fourth place.  After going to the playoffs in his rookie season, the honeymoon was over for head coach Tadd Ragan as his Panthers were in freefall, ending his second year with four straight losses.

 

Holland’s win against Coconino was his 69th in the Dome and his tenth against the Panthers.  It was also his last, as his contract was not renewed for 2007.  He ended his tenure with Flag High as their all-time winningest coach with 119 regular season wins.  His success, however, didn’t automatically translate to the postseason; although the Eagles made the playoffs twelve times in his nineteen years in charge, they only won four games (five if you include a mini-playoff in 1987) and never got past the second round.

 

SCORING SUMMARY

 

1

2

3

4

F

Coconino

0

0

2

8

10

Flagstaff

10

20

0

14

44

 

FHS:  Jordan Brandel 21 FG

FHS:  James Brooks 17 pass from Luke Hawthorne (Brandel PAT)

FHS:  Aaron Corbiere 5 run (Brandel PAT)

FHS:  Corbiere 1 run (Brandel PAT)

FHS:  Kasper Axtell 30 pass from Hawthorne (kick failed)      

CHS:  Safety; Michael Combrink tackled Axtell in end zone

FHS:  Tim Serrano 42 pass from Hawthorne (Brandel PAT)

FHS:  Patrick Bailey 36 run (Brandel PAT)

CHS:  Levi Daulton 21 pass from Will Atherton (Marion run)

 

TEAM TOTALS

Coconino

 

Flagstaff

10

Score

44

7

First Downs

10

32-81

Rushing (Carries-Yards)

35-187

5-16-3

Passing (Comp-Att-Int)

7-10-0

77

Passing Yards

128

158

Total Offense

315

2

Fumbles

2

5

Turnovers

2

5-45

Penalties-Yards

5-50

 

INDIVIDUAL LEADERS

RUSHING

COCONINO

          Marion:  22 rushes, 48 yards; Atherton:  5 rushes, 29 yards; Burris:  3 rushes, 3 yards; Cordova:  2 rushes, 1 yard

FLAGSTAFF

          Corbiere:  22 rushes, 138 yards, 2 TD; Axtell:  6 rushes, 26 yards; Bailey:  3 rushes, 40 yards, 1 TD; Brandel:  1 rush, -5 yards; Hawthorne:  3 rushes, -12 yards

         

RECEIVING

COCONINO

          Burris:  3 rec, 50 yards; Daulton:  1 rec, 21 yards, 1 TD; Gallagos:  1 rec, 6 yards

FLAGSTAFF

          Shirley:  3 rec, 40 yards; Brooks:  2 rec, 23 yards, 1 TD; Serrano:  1 rec, 42 yards, 1 TD: Axtell:  1 rec, 30 yards, 1 TD

 

PASSING

COCONINO

          Atherton:  16 att, 5 comp, 77 yards, 1 TD, 3 int

FLAGSTAFF

          Hawthorne:  10 att, 7 comp, 128 yards, 3 TD

 

Original story by Annie Turner of the Arizona Daily Sun; November 4, 2006

Text for Flagcoco written by Russell Woods; December 3, 2012

Statistics compiled by Bob Oberhardt, Maxpreps, and the Arizona Daily Sun

Last Updated:  August 20, 2013

 





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