YUMA, Ariz. – Late game heroics lifted the Arizona Western College football team (6-4 overall, 4-3 Western States Football League) past 16th ranked Pima Community College (6-3 overall, 4-2 WSFL) on Saturday afternoon. Logan Byrd won the game with a one-yard touchdown run to make it 24-20 with less than a minute to play. It was the second time this season that Byrd has scored the game winning touchdown late in the fourth quarter.
Byrd had thrown an interception right before the game winning drive, but the Matador defense forced Pima to punt with two minutes left in the game. Byrd used a couple of passes to move the team down to the one yard line with 50 seconds left before sneaking it across to win the game.
Running back Jadon Hayes powered the team to a strong start against a stingy Pima defense. The freshman ripped off a 71-yard touchdown run less than two minutes into the game for a 7-0 lead. The 71 yards represented more than half of the team’s yardage total in the first half as both defenses dominated.
After Arizona Western took a 10-0 lead, Pima scored 13 unanswered in the second quarter. Quartberack Brooks Ringer snuck in for a one-yard touchdown to cut it to 10-6 after a blocked extra point. Pima defensive back Garius Thompson picked off Byrd with 5:11 to go in the first half after AWC’s Bryce Parker was drilled while collecting a pass. The ball popped up into the air, and Thompson snatched it and scored for a 13-10 lead. The Aztecs took the 13-10 lead into the half.
Pima marched down the field to start the second half deep into Matador territory. Safety Bryce Beekman ended the drive though by undercutting an out route and picking off the pass. The sophomore took it 85 yards the other way for a touchdown and a 17-13 lead.
Pima answered right back and went down the field in three plays. Ringer threw a 16-yard touchdown pass to Jon Cole for a 20-17 lead with 10:19 to go in the third.
AWC’s defense kept giving the offense opportunities after that, and the offense finally paid it off with 49 seconds to play in the game.
The regular season is over for Arizona Western. AWC is bowl eligible, and bowl bids will be announced on Tuesday the 13th.