By Bobby Joe Smith
Special to the Sahuarita Sun
The Walden Grove Red Wolves made the short trip south to Rio Rico on Friday, defeating the Hawks, 42-9. The win put them in the top tier of the Region 4A Gila standings.
Walden Grove, Palo Verde Magnet and Pueblo Magnet all have early 1-0 leads in Region 4A Gila competition.
“We’re focused on going 1-0 every week, but we’re not going to lie and say we don’t have goals beyond tomorrow,” Coach Corey Noble said after the game. “It goes beyond next week, you know, we’ve got big goals for ourselves. The only way to take care of it is that process, one day and one week at a time. We all know we’ve got goals going forward for the end of this season.”
With half of the season and one region game behind them, Noble talked about where the Red Wolves are now.
“We want it to be different than it’s been and in order to do things you never have, you’ve got to do things you’ve never done.”
The Red Wolves lit up the scoreboard first on their opening drive. Quarterback Alex Lopez completed five straight passes, two passes Alex Culbertson, two to Ty McDermott, and one to Sam Martinez to move the Red Wolves 65 yards down the field. Lopez then carried the ball over from three yards out. A successful PAT by senior Nathan Alvarenga set the score at 7-0 at the 5:53 mark.
Walden Grove would add to their lead with 1:58 left in the first quarter when Lopez connected with senior wide receiver Hector Najar for 15 yards. With another successful PAT, the score became 14-0.
WGHS used their air attack once again to score early in the second quarter when Lopez connected with Najar for two completions, two more to Culbertson and one to Martinez before hitting twin brother Jordan for a 26-yard touchdown strike. With PAT 21-0.
Rio Rico was finally able to gain some significant yards against Walden Grove when Hawks senior running back Robert Villegas ripped through the Red Wolves defense for 65 yards and the Hawks only touchdown on the night. 21-7.
WGHS would waste little time as they scored on the next series when Martinez capped the six play drive 52 yard drive with a one-yard run. The score was 28-7 at the halftime ntermission.
Mid-way in the third quarter Walden Grove would pick up two scores. The first was on a five-yard touchdown pass, Lopez to Najar, 35-7. This score was set up by runs by Martinez and Alex Lopez that had moved the ball deep into Hawk territory.
On the second play of the next Hawks’ possession they fumbled the ball and Jordan Lopez picked up the ball for a “grab and go” dash to the end zone. Result 42-7.
Rio Rico would pick up its final two points of the contest when, back to punt deep in their own territory, Walden Grove punter senior Ryan Brady had trouble with a high snap that went over his head and sailed into the Red Wolves’ endzone. Rather than allowing Rio Rico to recover the ball in the end zone for six points, Brady fell on the ball allowing the Hawks two points for the safety. Final score 42-9.
Looking ahead Noble stressed execution and effort.
“So, we have had weeks where we do things better than we’ve ever done them before and then we’ve got weeks where we haven’t. There are no excuses for those situations. You know we’ve just got to prepare better, we have to do a better job ourselves of executing. That’s what it’s about. Everybody, no matter how good or bad, can execute. That’s what we’re talking about — effort, attitude and execution. Three things we’re in control of.”