PINE TOP, Ariz. - The Blue Ridge Yellowjackets defeated the Winslow Bulldogs 28-14 in Pinetop Oct. 23 to win their homecoming game and increase their chances of a state playoff berth.
The win improved Blue Ridge's record to 6-3 with only a relatively weak Page Sand Devil team remaining on their regular season schedule. Winslow fell to 5-4 with a tough Snowflake Lobo squad remaining.
Blue Ridge started strong and scored 21 of their 28 points in the first quarter. Winslow came on strong after their slow start and even got to within a touchdown in the third quarter.
The Yellowjackets drove to within the Winslow 20-yard line but were stopped on downs only to have the Bulldogs fumble on their first play from scrimmage. Blue Ridge scored several plays later on a 10-yard run by Spencer Wilkening. Seattle Meek converted for a 7-0 lead.
The Yellowjackets scored again on a 68-yard punt return by Blain Heyhuck and the conversion increased the lead to 14-0.
Blue Ridge then scored on the last play of the first quarter, a 16-yard run by Lane Penrod. Meek converted for a 21-0 lead going into the second period.
The Bulldogs scored on a long 75-yard pass from Rey Chavez-Velez to Nate Hollins. Damon Avalar converted to cut the Blue Ridge lead to 21-7.
Winslow did threaten but Blue Ridge held and had the ball when the half ended.
The Bulldogs scored on their first possession of the second half. They drove and scored on a fourth down pass from junior Villanueva to Hollins from 23 yards out. Avalar converted to cut the Blue Ridge lead to 21-14 with most of the third quarter left to play.
Blue Ridge drove 71 yards and scored on a three-yard run by Penrod. Meek converted to increase the Yellowjackets lead to 28-14 with more than three minutes left in the third quarter.
The Bulldogs had a long touchdown negated on a pass from Chavez-Velez to Hollins. Winslow benefited from a penalty and kept the drive alive. The quarter ended with the Bulldogs driving but trailing 28-14.
There were a couple of threats in the fourth quarter but no scores as the Yellowjackets protected their lead and an important victory. Winslow will need an upset over Snowflake, which lost for the first time on Friday 35-27 to undefeated Show Low at Show Low to make the state playoffs.