Vargas had a 19-yard run, but the Hopi defense stiffened and Winslow had to settle for a 29 yard field goal by Mark Spencer as the Bulldogs led 9-0 with 5:05 remaining in the opening period.
Two plays later, Jeremiah Johnson intercepted an Adams pass and Winslow took over at the 28 yard line. It took six plays to move the 72 yards with the help of a personal foul. Vargas had a 10-yard run to setup the TD before quarterback Jeremiah Johnson hit Jordan Payne with a 32-yard scoring strike. Spencer split the uprights and Winslow led 16-0 with 1:56 left in the initial quarter.
Early in the second stanza, Winslow took over at its own 32. It took 11 plays to move the 68 yards. A 14-yard run by Vargas setup the score and he broke loose on a 24-yard scamper for the TD. Spencer kicked the extra point as the Bulldogs led 23-0 with 7:21 left in the half.
Hopi then moved 65 yards in six plays for the score with the help of a pass interference call and a 14-yard pass to Michael Schjang to setup the score. Adams then connected with Tyler Pete on a 33-yard aerial TD strike. Adams found Schjang in the endzone for the conversion points as Hopi pulled within 23-8 with 5:32 to go until intermission.
It took Winslow just four plays to respond. Johnson hit Spencer with a 47-yard pass and Vargas had a 22-yard trot to setup the TD. Vargas plunged over from the one for the score. The kick failed, but the route was on as Winslow led 29-8 with 4:29 left in the half.
Two plays later, Hopi fumbled and Winslow took over at the 20. After losing four yards on the first play, Vargas took off on a 24-yard scamper for the TD.
Spencer kicked the extra point as Winslow led 36-8 with 3:21 to go in the half.
Four plays later Hopi punted and Payne returned it 36 yards to the Bruin 14. Five plays later, Johnson found Carlos Quezada in the endzone for a four-yard TD toss.
The kick failed, but Winslow led at halftime, 42-8.
Both teams scored on long touchdown drives in the third quarter. Winslow took the opening kickoff after Lucas Armenta returned it 20 yards to the 45-yard line. It took nine plays to move the 55 yards. Armenta setup the TD with an 11-yard run and then had a 20-yard gallop for the TD. Spencer kicked the extra point as Winslow led 49-8 with 6:38 left in the game.
Hopi then moved 80 yards in 10 plays for the score. Fifteen-yard passes from Adams to Pete and Schjang setup the TD before Adams fired a 27 yard TD pass to Pete to close out the scoring.
Winslow Coach Matt Gracey praised his team for playing much better than they had in some previous games this year. He said the Bulldog offense had struggled throughout this season after losing 3A North Player of the Year Steve Martinez and several linemen to graduation.
“Our players have worked hard to get back to this level,” Coach Gracey said.
Winslow came in with allowing an average of 6.5 points per game and the Bulldog defense again came ready to play.
“Our defense played well right to the end,” he said.
But Coach Gracey also praised Hopi.
“That was the toughest team we played all year. They were still hitting us hard in the third and fourth quarters,” he said. “They were still wailing on us.”
Coach Gracey noted that both teams are young with a lot of underclassmen.
“Hopi will have some battles, but they’ll get better,” he said.
Coach Gracey said the Bulldogs moved some personnel around offensively.
“It worked out well. It was a nice fit,” he said.
Coach Gracey said the Winslow punt and kickoff team did a good job with Lucas Armenta and Jordan Payne both obtaining significant yardage and almost breaking loose for TD’s several times.
Winslow faces Greyhills next week and finishes the season against Window Rock. He noted that Greyhills is tougher than in the past.
“The Window Rock game depends on the which Window Rock team shows up—the one that beat Tuba City or the one that lost to Greyhills,” he said.
Coach Gracey said if Winslow plays like it did against Hopi they can beat anybody in the league, but if they play like they did earlier in the season then they can lose to anybody in the league.
Coach Gracey said he is looking forward to the state playoffs to prove that there are some good football teams in the north. He said the Bulldogs have a lot of potential and talent.
“But I’ve seen teams that have potential and talent, but a lot of these teams haven’t done a lot,” he said.
Coach Gracey said the Bulldogs haven’t peaked yet.
“If we peak at the playoffs, anything is possible,” he said.
Coach Gracey praised Hopi High Coach Russ Semore.
“Coach Semore has done a great job with a young team.
He makes other coaches, including myself, better. He’s a good friend and a great man,” he said.
Coach Semore said it was a tough loss.
“We played well for one and a half quarters,” he said. “We had our chances, but we turned the ball over early and eventually their speed just ate us up. Our early turnovers just killed us.”
Coach Semore praised Adams for throwing the ball well, and the rest of the Bruins for showing character.
“Once your down by a lot of points, true character is revealed. I’m more proud of these kids tonight then I am when they beat Monument Valley 43-16. Because tonight they didn’t quit when it would have been easy to quit,” he said. “I feel bad for our seniors because it’s their last home game. I would have done anything to have us pull off an upset.”
Coach Semore said Winslow has a great football team.
“This is the first time all year that we’ve seen real speed. They just outran and outmuscled us,” he said. “I appreciate our players effort, but give Winslow credit. They’re talented and well coached. It’s a hard combo to overcome. It’s a credit to have them as part of the North Region.”
Coach Semore said sophomore lineman Charles Villa and senior lineman Steve Sinquah played well for Hopi.