Friday night #1 ranked Mingus hosted #2 ranked Sunnyslope in a 4A Division II match up that made for an exciting kickoff of what should be a long and successful season for both teams. As is the case with many season openers, both teams seemed tight during a scoreless first quarter. This continued into most of the second quarter until Sunnyslope senior running back Chase Corley took off around the right side for an eighty-five yard touchdown run with 2:46 left in the half. Mingus soon retaliated after linebacker Robert Witte intercepted Sunnyslope QB Sean Maraz giving the Marauders a short field. Quarterback Jay Arthur scrambled twenty-seven yards and on the next play hit running back Ryan Hauser for an eleven yard completion. This set up a four yard touchdown run by Hauser. Mingus failed to convert the PAT making the score going into half Sunnyslope 7 Mingus 6.
The second half started much as the first with both teams exchanging punts and fumbles, leading to a scoreless third quarter. The scoring in the 4th quarter began when Sunnyslope kicker Andres Pardo was able to connect on a forty-two yard field goal. This gave the visiting Vikings a 10 to 6 lead. Mingus then took the gloves off and began a tough ground march that was highlighted by big runs from Arthur, Hauser and John Bodam. The Marauders eventually found the end zone when Hauser went left on fourth and goal from the four to score. The two point conversion failed making the score Mingus 12 Sunnyslope 10. On the following drive the Vikings moved quickly finding all-state receiver T.J. Campbell twice. Once on a thirteen yard slant and later on a thirty-two yard strike to put the ball on the eleven yard line. After a holding penalty quarterback Sean Maraz was able to hit tightened Beau Grado dragging across the end zone for a touchdown. The most controversial moment of the game then took place when on a two point conversion run T.J. Campbell was signaled to have scored. The refs huddled and then called Campbell down, thus making the score Sunnyslope 16 Mingus 10. After the ensuing kickoff and touchback Mingus took the ball on their own twenty with 2:15 left in the game. Jay Arthur took off eleven yards on the first play and Hauser scampered twenty-six yards on the next play putting the ball near midfield. Arthur came up big twice as he converted a 3rd and 10 with a nice run and then later converted a 4th & 3 with a thirty-one yard gain. Add in a seven yard run by Hauser and this leads to the six yard touchdown run by sophomore Trevor Jones with seven seconds left in the game. This made the final score Mingus 18 Sunnyslope 16.
Bottom Line: Although rusty early, Mingus has the run game and defense that make a nice formula for a successful season. QB Jay Arthur and RB Ryan Hauser got comfortable as the game went on and made big plays when needed. The pass game will need to improve if they hope to beat 4A Divison I #1 Cactus next week in another showdown in Cottonwood. For Sunnyslope Campbell, Corley and Maraz bring great versatility to the Viking O but if Sunnyslope wants to make a run this year the run defense will need to tighten up. In the crucial 4th quarter Mingus was able to run when they wanted.
Game Balls: On the final drive QB Jay Arthur converted a 3rd & 10 and a 4th & 3 with big plays. Sunnyslope DE Matt Shillington was the bright spot for the D making two sacks and pressuring Arthur most of the evening.