POLACCA — Window Rock used a strong running game and occasional passes to beat Hopi, 24-0, Sept. 17 at Hopi.
The game was a scoreless battle until the second quarter, but the Scouts used a stifling defense and took advantage of an injured Hopi team to best the Bruins.
Window Rock opened the game by moving the ball from its own 31 to the Hopi 37 before Michael Schjang intercepted a pass and returned it 35 yards to the Scouts 37-yard line. Four plays later, Hopi gave the ball up on downs. Five plays later, Window Rock was forced to punt. It was a scoreless tie going into the second stanza.
The teams exchanged punts early in the second quarter.
That was when Schjang returned a punt 100 yards for an apparent TD only to have it called back because of a clipping penalty.
The teams then exchanged fumbles with Window Rock taking control at the Hopi 40. It took just four plays to score. Warren Damon had a 13-yard trot before quarterback Francis Collins connected with Erick Begay on a 31 yard scoring strike. A run attempt failed on the extra point attempt, but the Scouts led 6-0 with 4:38 left in the half.
Neither team appeared to be moving the ball, but Window Rock recovered a fumble at the 23-yard line with 49 seconds to play in the opening half. After an offside pushed the Scouts back to the 28, Francis connected on a 28 yard aerial TD to Begay. The run attempt failed, but Window Rock led 12-0 with 34 seconds left in the half.
Neither team could move the ball at the beginning of the third quarter. There were fumbles on three straight possessions with Hopi having a chance to get back in the game when they took over at the Window Rock 12. But the Scouts defense toughened as they took over at the six-yard line four plays later.
Window Rock fumbled the ball back, but Hopi took over at the 40 and couldn’t move the ball.
The Scouts put together a march that bridged the third and fourth quarters as they moved 62 yards in 10 plays. Bitloy had rushes of seven, seven and five yards to keep the drive going. Collins scored on a quarterback keeper from the one-yard line. The pass attempt failed, but Window Rock led 18-0 with 9:07 left in the game.
Hopi fumbled on the ensuing kickoff and Window Rock took control at the 38-yard line. The Scouts scored eight plays later. Collins connected with Begay for 17 yards to setup the score and Damon punched it in from four yards out. The run failed, but Window Rock led 24-0 with 5:42 left in the game.
Hopi used a 24 yard run by Lionel Nevayaktewa and a 14 yard run by Timms to move the ball from its own 20 to the Scouts 25. But an unsportsmanlike penalty and a tough defense caused the Bruins to give the ball up on downs before Window Rock ran out the clock.
Window Rock Coach Elmer Williams said he was really proud of his players for playing extremely hard in their conference opener. But, he also credited Hopi with playing hard.
“Hopi played a good defensive game. They hit hard and they’re well coached by one of the best,” he said.
Coach Williams said the Window Rock players worked hard throughout the week in preparation for this game.
The Scouts play a tough Tuba City club next Friday at home. Coach Williams said the Warriors will be tough, but they will look at the game tapes and see how they match up against Tuba City.
“We hope to be competitive. I can’t predict a score, but we’ll be there,” he said.
Coach Williams said the offense made some errors including turnovers and dropping a couple passes, but passes were made at key times, the runners moved the ball and the offensive line opened holes when they needed to do so. The coach praised quarterback
Collins, receiver Erick Begay and running backs Warren Damon and Monty Bitloy for playing good games.
Coach Williams said the defense played a great game with the tackles and nose guard leading the way. He also noted that the special teams didn’t give Hopi much.
Hopi High Coach John Schimon said the Bruins played well defensively but couldn’t move the ball. Hopi entered the game missing two starters due to disciplinary reasons and six players were injured before the game was finished.
Injuries, penalties and fumbles hurt Hopi. Michael Schjang appeared to return a punt 100 yards for a touchdown, but it was called back due to a clipping penalty.
Coach Schimon said Hopi has lacked consistency at quarterback due to injuries. Michael Schjang was injured with about 3:30 to go in the first half.
Vincent Timms, who had only one practice as quarterback, had to take over at that position.
“He did a good job for somebody who had only practiced one day at that position,” the coach said.
But Coach Schimon has some changes planned, as he will spread out the offense.
Coach Schimon said his players played their hearts out with Lahrs Crothers having the best game.
“But now we need to regroup,” he said.
Hopi will travel to Monument Valley next week as the Bruins take on the team with Mike Ball, the running back with the most yards in conference.