Scouts back on track after players return
By Quentin Jodie
WINDOW ROCK, October 18, 2012
(Special to the Times – Donovan Quintero)
T he plays that haunted the Window Rock football is a thing of the past.
That is what first-year coach Bradley King is hoping for as he returned nearly everyone who sat out the last few weeks due injuries and grades.
"We had a lot of young players that filled in some roles and that was their first shot playing at the varsity level," King said as his team went 1-4 in its last five outings.
"It's a lot of limelight for a freshman to get used to," he said.
Nonetheless part of that experiment did reveal two up-and-coming prospects in freshman quarterback Colten Lowley and freshman center -----.
"We started two freshmen tonight," King said. "Some of that limelight can melt on you, but these two guys stepped it up."
But the biggest difference from its recent slide was the change in attitude, King said.
"There was nothing but positive things coming out from this team," he said. "If we made a mistake, we moved on and you know the kids didn't snipe at each other."
That togetherness was pretty evident as the Scouts beat Page 42-18 in its homecoming game last Friday night to even its record to 4-4.
"The kids had an overwhelming desire to show our fans what they can do," King said. "To be honest it was wonderful to see the boys play the way I know they can."
The Scouts got big plays from senior wide receiver Kyler Ashley and senior running back Andres Lonebear before he left the game early in the fourth quarter with what appeared to be an ankle injury.
Lonebear finished the game with 60 yards on 10 carries while Ashley hauled in two receptions for 86 yards with one touchdown.
"We haven't been playing together," Ashley said. "But tonight we talked and we bonded and I am really proud of my team."
"We came out with a lot of heart," Window Rock starting quarterback Eric Bryant added. "We were clicking tonight and we took it to the Sand Devils."
Bryant split the signal calling duties with Lowley as the Scouts ran a two- quarterback system with the junior completing 4-of-10 passes for 116 yards and a touchdown.
He also rushed for 72 yards on four carries and added two touchdowns with his longest run coming on a 52-yard dash late in the third quarter.
Lowley, meanwhile, went 6-of-7 for 73 yards and a touchdown. He also was credited for another score as he hit the pay dirt from 16 yards out.
"Both of them did really well," King said. "One is a freshman (Lowley) and the other is a junior and I have to be happy with that."
While both played a key role in their 24-point win, it was the defense of the Scouts that stopped Page.
The Sand Devils finished the game with seven turnovers, four of them on interceptions.
"We shot ourselves in the foot a few times and we couldn't bounce back" said Page coach Jeff Wheatley.
"Anytime you have plays like that, it definitely kills the momentum," Wheatley said of the picks Window Rock collected. "We didn't execute the way we should have and bad things happen when you don't do things you are supposed to do."
One of those picks gave Window Rock a short field to work with as Lowley ran in the final 14 yards for a 14-0 lead with 9:10 left in the second quarter.
On its next series, Page ate up just 2:35 off the clock before sophomore running back Jason Moore capped a 74-yard drive with a touchdown.
With less than six minutes to go in the half, both teams tacked on one more score by going to the air.
On its second play from the line of scrimmage, Bryant hit Ashley for a 54-yard touchdown reception.
Page quarterback Drew Wilson did him one better as he connected with senior wide out CJ Ripka for a 58-yard bomb that cut Window Rock's lead down to 20-12 at the break.
The Scouts extended that lead to 28-18 in the early going of the second half, but in the final 14 minutes Window Rock came up with three turnovers, two on picks.
"You have to give Window Rock credit for coming out strong and keeping the momentum," Wheatley said. "I thought we got a little bit of momentum at halftime, scoring at the end, but we just couldn't carry it over."
Page, which dropped seven spots in the recent AIA poll to No. 25, will host Tuba City on Friday before closing out the season at Flagstaff on Oct 26.
"We played a real tough schedule, but you have to win games like this to have a shot at the playoffs," Wheatley said. "We probably won't get in, but I am proud of my kids."
As for Window Rock, they moved up to No. 19 in the rankings, which was released on Tuesday. They'll close out the regular season at Hopi on Friday before hosting No. 4 seeded Monument Valley on Oct. 26
"Our goal is still the same," King said when asked about whether they have reassessed their goals. "I want to keep our players healthy and develop these younger players.
"We need to develop them so we can come back next year and build on the program, but we are going to do our darnedest to beat Hopi and darnedest to beat Monument Valley," he added. "Hopefully if we can win those games the state will let us in the playoffs with a 6-4 record."