YUMA, Ariz. – Dejhion Parrish stuffed the stat sheet for the Arizona Western football team on Saturday afternoon. The sophomore piled up a whopping 174 yards and three touchdowns on only four rushing attempts, and the second ranked Matadors crushed Mesa 64-23 in Yuma. The Mats scored in all three phases of the game (offense, defense, special teams).
AWC (8-0 overall, 6-0 Western States Football League) piled up 376 rushing yards and repeatedly gashed Mesa (5-4 overall, 3-3 WSFL) in the ground game to build an early lead and also stomp out Mesa comebacks.
Greg Bell III scored the first touchdown for the Mats on the team’s opening drive. He juked past four Mesa defenders on his way to a 12-yard touchdown with 10:45 to play in the first half. The sophomore finished with 89 yards and one touchdown on 16 carries.
The two sides traded punts, and then the Matador defense forced a fumble. Azur Kamara stripped Mesa’s Christian Lopez, and Ezra Tupuola recovered it.
Four plays later, Parrish ripped off a 47-yard touchdown run. The score put the Mats up 14-0 with 5:18 to play in the first quarter.
Gabriel Claudio booted a 26-yard field goal early in the second quarter to put AWC up three scores, but Mesa didn’t go away. The Mats fumbled with 4:58 left until halftime, and it sparked a seven play scoring drive for Mesa. Lopez found Sonnie Richardson for an 11-yard touchdown that cut the lead to 17-7.
The Mats answered with a perfect two-minute offense to march 55 yards in 10 plays. Bryce Perkins scrambled and scored a 9-yard touchdown with nine seconds to play in the first half. Claudio banged home the extra point to put the Mats up 24-7 at the break.
AWC came out of halftime on the attack to push the lead to 30. First, Jack Colletto powered home a touchdown from two yards out, and then Azur Kamara blocked a punt a few possessions later. Tyrik Jones tracked the ball down in the end zone with 5:27 to play in the third quarter for a 37-7 lead once Mesa blocked the extra point.
Mesa rallied with two quick scores to make it a 14-point game. First, Lopez found Miles Kelly for a 40-yard touchdown pass down the sideline on fourth down. Lopez threw it to Kelly again for a two-point conversion. On the following kickoff, Elijah Blades fumbled, and Gleson Sprewell scooped it up and scored. Once again, Mesa converted a two-point attempt to trim the Matador lead to 37-23.
Parrish put the stop to that two plays later. On second and 13 at the Matador 27, he raced up the middle and burst through to the second level. Parrish weaved his way down the field and turned Mesa’s safeties around while sprinting to the pylon for a 73-yard touchdown.
The Matador defense forced a turnover on downs, and Parrish struck again. This time, he powered through a hole up the middle and ran straight to the end zone for a 50-yard touchdown and a 51-23 lead.
Colletto ran in a two-yard touchdown after another Mesa punt, and then the Matador defense tacked on one more score. Mohamed Diallo gobbled up Lopez and forced a fumble, and Jones snapped up the football and ran it back 27 yards for the final touchdown.
The Mats have one final regular season game this year. They host Scottsdale next Saturday at 1:00 p.m. Tickets are only $5 for adults and $3 for seniors and military members. Kids 12 and under and AWC students and staff (with current school ID) get in for 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. AWC leads the state in enrollment growth over the past 10 years and handed out more than 2,300 certificates and degrees in 2016-17.