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Hawks score early, often in 40-0 rout of Kofa
Heading into the game against Kofa, Gila Ridge had a simple goal – establish its defense early. The Hawks had no problem doing that.
On the first offensive play of the game, Kofa quarterback Anthoni Rubal was dropped for a safety by the Gila Ridge defense. The Hawks scored on the ensuing drive and cruised to a 40-0 win over the Kings on Friday at Irv Pallack Field.
“We thought our defense would step up tonight,” Gila Ridge coach Jay Denton said. “You try and set the tone for the whole game.”
The Hawks (7-1 overall, 3-0 Gila Valley Region) did exactly that. They pressured the Kings all night, allowing them only three first downs in the first half. Kofa (0-9, 0-3 GVR) was only able to advance the ball past the Gila Ridge 45-yard line on two occasions and gave away five interceptions.
“They're a well-coached football team, they were strong up front and gave our offense fits all night long,” Kofa coach Kevin Moore said.
Gila Ridge quarterback Mike Pancrazi helped lead the Hawks' charge. He threw for 71 yards and a touchdown, rushed for 83 and picked off a Rubal pass in the second quarter.
“We watched a bunch of film and learned all their routes,” said Pancrazi. “We always plan on jumping on them early and keeping on the pressure.”
While the Hawks dialed up the pressure on the Kofa quarterback, the Kings were rarely able to wrap up Pancrazi. He eluded defenders and used the option to easily spread out the field.
“Mike Pancrazi is a pretty good football player, a pretty good quarterback. He's the best we've faced at that position all year long, I think,” Moore said.
Hawks running back Andy Meza was also able to find some running room. He rushed for 72 yards on three carries in the second half and finished the game with 156 yards on 15 attempts.
The Kings will now gear up for their annual meeting with the Yuma Criminals, a match that Moore said could be a redeeming footnote on an otherwise disappointing season.
“It's all about this week, if we win on Friday night and play well we can throw everything else that's happened the past nine weeks out the window,” Moore said. “This game is what matters the most.”
The Hawks will now turn their attention to their Friday matchup against Lake Havasu, which stands alone atop the region standings.