The Winslow Bulldogs advanced into the second round of the Arizona State 3A Conference Championship Playoffs with a 68-28 victory over the Window Rock Scouts in a first round game played at Winslow on Saturday. The victory improved Winslow's record to 8-3 for the season. Winslow will play Fountain Hills on Saturday at Williams Field. The Falcons edged Show Low 20-17 to advance to the second round. Window Rock ended its season with an impressive 7-3 mark.
Winslow scored on its first possession on an 11 yard run by Matthew Smith and Stacey Berg's conversion but trailed when the Scouts answered with a 50 yard pass from Dwight Tabaha to Derek Mitchell and Tabaha's run for a two point conversion and an 8-7 lead. Kraig Shirley hit Berg with a 50 yard scoring pass tut the conversion failed. Tabaha ran eight yards for the last score of the first quarter which ended with Window Rock leading 14-13 after a conversion run failed.
The Bulldogs scored three unanswered second quarter touchdowns to start the period. Chayse Russell ran one yard for the first score and nine for the next. Shirley ran 11 yards before Russell scored his third touchdown of the quarter on a brilliant 60 yards scamper. Tabaha hit Mitchell for their second touchdown to cut the Winslow lead but Austin Gilbert returned the kickoff 55 yards for a touchdown on the last play of the half to build the lead back to 47-20 at the intermission.
Shirley hit Payden Zufelt from 41 yards out to open the second half scoring, and then hit him again on an 11 yard scoring pass. Russell ran 37 yards for his third score to give Winslow a 68-20 lead after three periods.
The only score of the fourth quarter was a late 14 yard run by Brandon Joe for Window Rock and a two point conversion pass from Tabaha to Mitchell.
Winslow and Fountain Hills met in a preseason controlled scrimmage at Winslow but both teams have likely changed considerably as the season progressed. The Bulldogs lost their first three games of the season, but have charged back to win eight straight and have scored over 50 points in their last seven games.
Both Winslow and Window Rock were two of the 3A North Region's threes representatives and Holbrook lost to top seeded Payson to leave the Bulldogs as the region's only remaining team in the playoffs.