On Friday night, following the Pima Roughriders 41-0 win over the Bisbee Pumas, Coach Jim Hughes made a "roller coaster" motion with his hand when asked about the win and the 2020 season.
“Not just this season, but the whole year. I am happy for the kids, they are finally getting it. One left, now we are going to Morenci, and that is going to be a tough game,” he said.
COVID-19 cost Hughes and the Roughriders most of October. Following their Oct. 2 loss to Thatcher, positive COVID-19 tests found them on a two-week quarantine; games and practices were sacrificed. Pima travelled to Willcox at the end of two weeks and lost a very close, 13-12 game.
Last Friday night things seemed to have finally come together for Pima. The Roughriders scored on their first three possessions.
After winning the toss, Pima elected to receive that ball to start the game. Bisbee attempted an onside kick off, but junior lineman Chris Edgmon ended the Puma’s early trick play and Pima started at their own 49-yard line.
Senior QB Kaleb Blair gained five yards and the Pumas gave them five more on the next play by jumping off-sides. A pair of runs by senior Caleb Barlow moved the ball to the Bisbee 37. Yet another five-yard gift from the Pumas set the Riders up at the 31. Another pair of runs by Barlow moved the ball from there to the Bisbee 17, he then busted into the end zone on the next play. 7-0 with the successful PAT by Jaxon John.
Pima’s defense forced a three and out. That possession ended with Pima deep in Bisbee territory at the 35-yard line and six minutes left in the first quarter. The ensuing drive of 15 plays ate up the rest of the quarter. Two plays into the second quarter Blair scored from eight yards out and John, a freshman, added the PAT, 14-0.
Bisbee elected to go for it facing fourth and six on their next drive and Pima took over when the Pumas came up short at the Bisbee 45 yard-line. Pima took advantage of the short field and sophomore running back Wyatt Wiltbank moved the ball from the nine into the Puma’s end zone. PAT failed, but the Riders were now up, 20-0. A series of fumbles, flags and miscues took up the final 5 minutes and 28 seconds of the first half.
Halftime saw homecoming ceremonies, band and cheerleader performances. Through it all 20-0 shown brightly from the scoreboard at Edd Hubbard Field.
The third quarter opened looking like most of the first half. Bisbee could only move backwards against the Pima defense. Following the punt Pima started their first second half drive at their own 41-yard line. A pair of runs by Garrett Curtis and another Blair run moved Pima to the Puma’s 23. The offside bug bit Pima and they found themselves at the 28. Not deterred, Blair picked up 15-yards, followed by six by more by Curtis. Wiltbank found the end zone again with a seven-yard touchdown run. Add the successful John PAT, 27-0.
With 5:27 left in the third quarter, it appeared that Bisbee was finally going to get something going. The Pumas put together an eight-play, 35-yard drive only to have it end with fumble at the Roughrider 29-yard line. On the second play following the take over at their own 33-yard line, Blair took to the air and hit sophomore wide receiver Grant Ashby close to mid-field. Ashby took care of the rest going all the way to Bisbee end zone, John PAT, 34-0, with 39 seconds left in the third period.
The fourth quarter opened with Pima turning yet another short field into points. Sophomore quarterback Coy Miller ended the night’s scoring with another touchdown pass to Ashby, this one for 23 yards, John connected again on PAT. Final score, 41-0.
Friday night Coach Hughes and the 2-1 and 2-2 Riders will see the end of the "roller coaster" season as they will travel to Morenci to face the now 3-1 and 5-1 Wildcats.