On an evening of hype and electricity that filled the air in a newly rededicated Rollin Gridley Stadium, Mother Nature’s electrical storm and rain washed out Tucson vs Pueblo Part I on Friday night.
Both teams as did other area high schools were forced to play on Saturday to make up Friday’s cancelled contests.
The newly installed turf at Tucson High passed the first test of how it would respond to a heavy rain and successfully drained as it was designed.
If you remember, the Badger’s turf was ruined in the summer of 2016 by a massive monsoon that struck the city and flooded the stadium. All of their 2017 games were played at other fields giving them no home field advantage and a disappointing 4-6 record.
Last week Tucson dismantled Phoenix Maryvale 63-6 to open up this season with a decisive victory.
Fast forward back to Saturday where the 2018 Badgers, with thirty two seniors on this squad were ready to show their fans how they would respond, not only after the rainout but last year’s season.
Tucson took the opening kickoff after Warriors deferred and marched down the field to score game’s first touchdown by senior quarterback Jesus Montaño keeping it himself.
Pueblo got on the board a few possessions later when Montaño fumbled and the Warrior defense scooped up the ball and ran it in for the score. The point after attempt was blocked. Tucson was still up 7-6.
This was Pueblo’s first game of 2018 and early season mistakes were evident by misreads by their quarterback on timing routes, dropped passes, procedure penalties and giving up seven sacks that will certainly be corrected by Head Coach Brandon Sanders and his staff the following weeks.
In the beginning of the second quarter, Badgers running back senior Gary Love who had a efficient night by rushing for 117 yards on 18 carries went off tackle for thirty seven yards and the Badger’s second touchdown to lead 13-6 after their point after attempt was missed.
Later in the quarter a Tucson drive stalled but a field goal extended the lead to 16-6.
Just before halftime with Tucson driving, the Warriors intercepted a pass to stop the Badgers. Their possession was short lived as senior defensive lineman Isaac Ruiz forced a fumble on a sack on the next play and senior Wyatt Campos scooped it up and went into the end zone for a 23-6 halftime lead.
The second half neither team could sustain consistent drives as both defenses shut down the other. The Badgers and Warriors both scored single touchdowns but the game had already been decided as Tucson won 30-12.
Pueblo had played the Badgers much tougher than Phoenix Maryvale, but in the end we’re outmanned and worn down by a bigger Tucson High team.
Waytt Campos for his two touchdowns, one offense and one defense was awarded the 520 Sports Talk Player of the Game.
Next up for Pueblo is their home opener on the 31st against Casa Grande High School.
The Badgers will travel north to Phoenix and face the Alhambra Lions on the same night.