PIMA — Pima hosted Thatcher on Friday, and while it looked like it could be anyone’s game going into the second half, the Eagles were able to sustain pressure and capitalize on Roughriders errors while pulling off some big passes
Thatcher won, 42-7.
Thatcher head coach Ramon Morales said, “We were playing a lot of new kids. I think we’re just trying to find out who could play and get a little rhythm going. I’m really pleased with the kids who stepped up. We had five starters out, so we had some kids step up and play well.”
Thatcher scored a touchdown on a Pima bad snap less than two minutes into the game. Thatcher’s Collin Thompson scooped up the loose ball and carried it about 19 yards to put the Eagles on the board.
Pima head coach John Bryant said, “They were bigger than we were, and I thought their line really started dominating us in the second half, but we made a lot of mistakes. It just killed us. I thought we had a chance. It’s kind of a momentum thing. It’s easier to dominate somebody when they start making mistakes, but my guys played hard. We had a lot of guys run out of gas there at the end.”
Thatcher scored again early in the second quarter off a long drive that carried over from the first. Michael McBride ran it in the last yard for the touchdown.
Despite two big fumbles on its own possession, Wyatt Schmidt put Pima on the board, scoring off an 8-yard passing touchdown.
Thatcher scored again with 59 seconds left in the half, on McBride driving it in on a 6-yard run.
The Eagles were up, 21-7, at halftime.
McBride said, “Second half, we really picked up the intensity and started to pass more. That really helped, I think, since we were running it all first half. Coach decided we should try a couple passes and see how it works out. It worked pretty good.”
Thatcher shut down Pima for the entire second half and scored three more touchdowns, two in the third and one in the fourth — Spencer Stevens scored on a 42-yard pass, Kyle O’Donnal scored on a 33-yard pass, and Mark Wren ran in the final Eagles touchdown of the night from 30 yards out.
Pima’s Alec Judd said, “We need to practice executing better and sharpen up our offense. We know Thatcher is always going to be physical every year, so we’ve got to bring it. They brought it tonight.”
Pima (3-3 overall, 0-1 region) hosts St. Johns (4-2, 0-1) on Thursday, Oct. 10, at 7 p.m.
Thatcher (4-2, 1-0) plays at Morenci (3-2, 0-0) on Oct. 11 at 7 p.m., making up the Aug. 23 season opener that was postponed due to weather.