The Winslow Bulldogs clinched the 3A North Region championship with a 66-22 victory over the Window Rock Scouts at Window Rock on Friday. The win left the Bulldogs with a perfect 5-0 regional record and a 5-3 record for the season. Window Rock fell to 4-1 in the region and 6-2 for the season.
The Scouts are the only team in the region with less than two losses and with only one game left for Winslow, the worse the Bulldogs could do would be to tie for the regional title with Window Rock. Winslow would be the champion due to their victory on Friday. The Scouts can secure a second place finish in the region with a victory in their last game against Tuba City on Friday.
Defense was a key to the victory and that started early when Anthony Huerta intercepted a Window Rock pass and returned it to the 20 yard line. Stacey Berg scored on the next play on a 20 yard run and booted the conversion for a 7-0 lead. The next score was even more a defensive accomplishment when Wyatt DeWitt stole the ball from a Scout ball carrier and raced 64 yards to score. The conversion increased the lead to 14-0. Winslow had three interceptions and a fumble recovery in the first period.
The Bulldogs scored the first touchdown of the second quarter when Chayse Russell recovered a fumble in the end zone on a short running play midway through the period. The conversion increased the lead to 21-0. Kraig Shirley hit Berg from 36 yards out and the conversion increased the lead to 28-0.
Window Rock got on the scoreboard with just over a minute left in the half on a 10 yard Lamar Peterson to Kenny Begay pass. Peterson ran for the two point conversion to cut the lead to 28-8.
A Shirley to Berg scoring pass was negated on a penalty was followed with a Shirley to Zack Zufelt 24 yard scoring pass on the next play. The conversion gave Winslow a 35-8 half time lead.
The Bulldog defense set up the first score of the second half when Huerta recovered a fumble on the kickoff and Berg converted a 47 yard field goal for a 38-8 Winslow lead. The defense continued to dominate as Wendell Carter intercepted a pass and ran 33 yards to score, then Russell returned a punt 55 yards to score. Berg converted perfectly for a 52-8 Bulldog lead.
Window Rock drove 75 yards and Dwight Tabaha scored on a 10 yard run and Peterson ran for a two point conversion to cut the lead to 52-16.
Russell completed the third quarter scoring with a 43 yard run that gave Winslow a 59-16 lead after the conversion.
Window Rock got the first score of the fourth quarter on a 29 yard pass from Tabaha to Derek Mitchell. The conversion run failed and Winslow still led 59-22.
Russell ran 26 yards for his third touchdown of the game and the conversion increased the lead to 66-22, the final score.
The Bulldogs have a non-regional game on Friday against South Point and will take a five game winning streak in the region into their final game against Tuba City on Oct. 29 and a streak of four games in which they have scored more than 50 points.
The win also secured a home playoff game for the Bulldogs.
Monument Valley at Holbrook - this week's Top Game
The 3A North Region will likely see its third and likely final playoff berth decided at Holbrook on Friday when the Monument Valley Mustangs come to meet the Roadrunners. Both teams are 2-2 going into the contest and the two to spots in the league are virtually assured to go to Winslow and Window Rock.
Winslow defeated Window Rock 66-22 on Friday to improve to 5-0 in the region and clinch at least a tie for the title with a head to head victory over the Scouts who are the only team that could tie the Bulldogs.
Window Rock also has only Tuba City left on Friday and has victories over both Holbrook and Monument Valley, the only teams that could tie them for second.
Tuba City and Chinle are both 1-3 and long shots at best to tie the Monument Valley-Holbrook winner. Ganado is winless in the region at 0-5 and has no chance of reaching the playoffs.
The power point situation virtually assures that only three 3A North Region teams will make the playoffs and those would appear certain to be Winslow, Window Rock and the Monument Valley-Holbrook winner.