This is is all but over 38-26 Bagdad as Pacheco scores on an eight yard run and tops it of with a two point conversion! The previous Pima drive was their worse of the night as they turned the ball over on a fumbled punt attempt giving Bagdad a short field.
What an exciting and fun game to watch. It really was smash mouth football at its best. Pima loaded 8 guys in the box for most of the night. Bagdad pounded the ball most of the night. This enabled Bagdad to make a few nice flat passes for positive yardage leading to or resulting in a score. They also had a nice screen that was wide open due to Pima's aggressive style of defense. They had another screen play that was seemingly wide open, but Pima defended it well and made a great tackle.
On the other side of the ball Pima came out firing on their 1st play from scrimmage on a fly route by #55 Lunt. Their was a size mismatch here and Pima took advantage of it a few times. Bagdad made an adjustment in coverage that made for a better matchup. Pima also executed a beautiful hook and ladder play for a score. They tried once more but Bagdad defended it well and got a nice stop. Pima couldn't move the chains much running the ball; however they were able to execute some nice screens.
Positives for Pima: they are big, fast, and well coached. But I think the thing that I liked to see most was the fire/confidence they played with. I really felt that Bagdad controlled the 2nd half. At some points I was able to relax a little, thinking the game in hand. But dang Pima refused to let up and stayed in it to the end. I like the confidence the coach has in his players which is evident in the very aggressive defensive scheme. This was basically a challenge to Bagdad saying we know your going to pound it, we will stop you, and you'll have to beat us some other way. I think Lunt perceivably made the most impact for Pima; however Linebacker Hemphill was a the silent assassin on Pima's Defense. He made a lot of tackles and always in the pile the entire game. He reminds me of Bagdad's C.J. wade of last years team.
Positives for Bagdad: I think the biggest question this year for Bagdad is the line. They started off a bit shaky, but progressed well quickly and the ought the game. Still have some areas to improve on, but still the outlook is very positive. Bagdad effectively pounded the ball all night, even with Pima's aggressive Defense. There was one series in the 4th qtr where Pima stuffed the run and Bagdad was 3 and out. Bagdad was able to identify a hole in their own defense, that will be remedied quickly. They mad a great adjustment that had a huge impact on the game. There were many Bagdad players that had a great game but if I had to pick one that had the most impact I would say it was Alcorta. Not surprisingly he played pretty much lights out as usual, but after the adjustment he had to take it up another notch, effectively neutralizing the biggest threat.
Judd had an injury late in the game. He walked off the field in his own accord, but with a limp. It was one of those plays where the legs kinda splay and the knees and ankles get twisted up. I'm not sure he came back into the game. And sincerely hope it is superficial and he'll be ok. He's a great running back. Bagdad QB Jaregui was hit hard on a few plays. He's a tough gamer and is ok, but needs more time and less pain to work his magic. As previously mentioned the line showed good improvement as the game progressed. He threw the ball very well when given time. Yargus had at tweak to the ankle, and missed a series, but came back in the game. He played outstanding all night.
Following this game, I think Bagdad is the clear favorite to win it all. Both teams will make a lot of improvement through the season, but I think Bagdad is more consistent and had absolutely great play from their subs. I think they have more depth than Pima. Also I don't believe in the " hard to beat a team twice in one season" nonsense. Each game matters and the preparation is at a high level for both teams, adjustments are made, and the kids play to win.
Both teams had huge offensive plays at opportune times. Both teams brought the wood with some massive hits. Both teams had mind-blowing penalties. Both teams tackled well for this early in the season. Both teams, understandably, looked a little out of shape. Both teams took momentum of the game and also lost it. Both teams sucked at two-point conversions. Both quarterbacks played well. Both team's core returners looked very good. Both team's newcomers need some work, but will be fine.
One team turned the ball over three times deep in their territory (two on snaps) leading to twenty easy points. One team didn't turn it over once.
38-32 Bagdad. Kudos to the Sultans for not putting the ball on the ground. Very fun game to be a part of.
And I agree with your last point. Both of these teams will be tremendously improved by the next time they face one another. The fact that Bagdad won this game by 6 points, will have zero impact the next time they play.