Homecoming is a time of celebration, a time to celebrate athletes and students, both past and present.
Friday night the Morenci football team, family, friends, fellow students, past students and fans did just that. They celebrated big time, with a big time, 46-7, win over Region 2A San Pedro rival Bisbee.
The party, however, got off to less than stellar beginning as the Pumas struck first with a 60-yard run on the first play from scrimmage, and four plays later punched the ball into the Wildcat end zone to take a 7-0 lead.
Not wanting to cry at their own party, Morenci evened everything up when junior Derek Saenz took the ensuing kickoff all the way back for the tying touchdown, PAT added by Albert Cobos, 7-7.
On the Wildcats' third possession of the game, Patrick Chavez scored on a 15-yard run and Cobos again added the PAT, 14-7, to end first quarter scoring.
The Wildcats' first drive of the second period stalled and they handed the ball over to Bisbee at the Pumas' own 32-yard line.
Bisbee did pick up two first downs, but a tough Wildcat defense and a couple of Puma penalties moved Bisbee back to their own 45-yard line.
Facing fourth down and needing 18-yards for another first down, Bisbee elected to punt the ball away. If the punt was blocked or just shanked led to a long discussion by the officials. Either way, blocked or an incredibly short punt, the Wildcats got the ball at mid-field.
A pair of runs by sophomore Michael Casillas, the first for 14-yards and the second run of 36-yards would resolve the matter. The Wildcats lined up to kick the extra point, but it was time for the Wildcats to add a little ‘trick-eration’ to the party. Saenz was assigned to hold the ball for place kicker Cobos, but Saenz took the snap, raised up and hit a wide open Joey Seballos in the end zone for the two-point conversion, 22-7 at the halftime break.
The Wildcats were in the mood to party to open the second half and it only took them six plays to light up the scoreboard again. Casillas again got the call and bumped the score up to 28-7. Two point PAT failed.
It seemed that Bisbee might get something together on their first drive of the second half, with a 14-play drive that covered 36 yards, but it ran out of steam at the MHS 25 yard line with 2:03 left in period number three.
The final quarter was much the same for Bisbee; the Pumas could not put together any kind of a sustained drive and it seemed the Wildcats could do very little wrong.
Following another Puma punt the Wildcats upped the score again with a 10-yard catch and run by Tristen Sanchez, 34-7 with successful PAT.
Another punt by Bisbee managed to force the Wildcats to start from deep in their own territory at the 16-yard line. Morenci moved the ball deftly to the Bisbee 35-yard line, where Sanchez added another touchdown catch, failed PAT, 40-7 with 4:45 left to play.
The next Puma possession didn’t go well either. MHS forced a fumble at the Bisbee 40-yard line. It took a total of one play for Morenci to add another score. Tony Roybal took a pass that sailed just over the fingertips of the Bisbee defender and gained the five yards needed for the final score of 46-7 with failed PAT.
Following the game, the post game parking lot was surreal, nobody seemed to be in a hurry to leave the party. The homecoming festivities had gone long and the MHS band couldn’t perform at halftime, so they went on after the game.
Since you can't have a celebration without music, the Wildcat faithful seemed more than happy to hang out and listen.
The Wildcats are now 5-1, 5-0 in conference play and 1-0 in Region 2A San Pedro. They will be on the road for the next two games, Tombstone this Friday and Benson the next.