THATCHER, Ariz. – The Arizona Western College football team found itself on the wrong end of an old-fashioned defensive struggle on Saturday night. The 17th ranked Mats (5-4 overall, 3-3 Western States Football League) were shut out 21-0 by 14th ranked Eastern Arizona College. It was the first time AWC has been shut out since 2015.
Both defenses refused to budge as the offenses started to approach the end zone, and the two teams combined for 10 punts and three missed field goals. AWC also had three turnovers (although two were interceptions on long bombs into the end zone to end each half).
Both sides punted on their first possession, and AWC had great field position for its second possession on offense when Troy’Von Johnson returned a punt to the Eastern 28. AWC moved it to the 14 yard line before kicker Alec Fonseca pushed a 30 yard field goal wide right.
Wilber Cooper ripped off a 61-yard run to set up Eastern inside the AWC 20, but the Matador defense didn’t break. AWC then blocked a 32 yard field goal try.
AWC marched down the field on one of their best drives of the game by running it on 11 straight plays. The drive stalled at the Eastern 11, and Fonseca hooked a 28 yard field goal early in the second quarter.
Eastern Arizona finally broke through thanks to Ishois Times. The Gila Monsters ate up five minutes off the clock, and he juked three defenders on third down for a four yard touchdown and a 7-0 lead with 5:26 left in the half.
At the start of the second half, EAC’s Jermaine Zeigler dropped the kickoff at the three yard line, but he scooped it up and broke contain on the outside. He raced down the sideline for a 97 yard touchdown and a 14-0 lead.
Halfway through the fourth quarter, EAC effectively put the game away with a touchdown to take a three score lead. To’a MauMau set it up with a 37 yard gain to the AWC 13. Cooper scored a nine yard TD two plays later for a 21-0 lead with 6:33 to go. He had 23 carries for 123 yards in the game.
AWC had 319 yards of total offense. Jadon Hayes led the ground game with 15 carries for 91 yards, and Logan Byrd finished 16-30 for 132 yards throwing the football. Arizona Western used three quarterbacks in the game.
Eastern had 243 rushing yards in the game and only threw one pass, which fell incomplete.
AWC hosts Pima Community College next Saturday to wrap up the regular season. The afternoon game wraps up Homecoming Week for Arizona Western, and the game starts at 2:00 p.m. Tickets are only $5 for adults and $3 for seniors/military. Kids 12 and under and AWC students and staff get in FREE!
Arizona Western College is one of the top community colleges in Arizona. The college boasts partnerships with all three state universities that include face-to-face classes in Yuma.