By Vincent R. Crawford
When Phoenix South Mountain (1-0) visited the Phoenix Maryvale Panthers (0-1) for the season opening football game on Friday the Jaguars partied like it was 1999. That was the last time South Mountain had defeated the Panthers on the gridiron.
As time expired with South Mountain winning 34-7, the Jaguars reveled and afterwards posed for a team photo in front of their fans.
“It came to our attention that South Mountain had not beaten Maryvale since 1999, so, this was our motivation and for our guys as well,” said Jaguars co-head coach Marcus Carter, about Maryvale’s dominance. “The kids stepped up to the challenge because they wanted to end that streak and start a streak of our own.
“This win is great. We just got to say, ‘Remember what got you here.’ We are going to keep grinding. We are going to stay on them and keep trying for greatness every day.”
With their triumph, South Mountain (1-10) matched their 2016 win total.
“I know this is a new thing for them, but they got to understand all the hard work they put in they have to keep it up,” said co-head coach Mark Carter, about the win. “We are going to get on them, get back to work, and not let them get complacent. They have to stay focused, stay humble, and remember we did this together.”
South Mountain scored on their second drive of the game when quarterback Jeremiah Williams carried the ball four yards to pay dirt midway through the first period. In the second quarter, running back Marlon Noralez raced untouched 27 yards to double the score, 12-0, with 7:25 displayed on the clock.
About five minutes later, the Panthers failed to score twice when tight end Adolfo Cano juggled the ball four times before dropping a six-yard touchdown pass and the ensuing 34-yard field goal was missed.
Noralez’ two-yard run and Williams’ nine-yard scoring toss to Dontae Lee increased the Jaguars lead to 27-0 with 3:24 remaining in the third period.
Seconds into the fourth quarter, the Jaguars were up 34-0 on Noralez’ third TD carry of the competition, for 14 yards. Noralez carried the ball 12 times for 117 yards.
On their final possession of the game, Jesse Valadez broke several tackle attempts on his way to a 32-yard TD run for Maryvale’s only score. Both Major Shepherd and Valadez rushed for a team high 56 yards.
In the game, South Mountain finished with four sacks and a combined total of 17 tackles each for negative Panthers yardage.
“On our offensive line, we started three sophomores and two juniors and for three of them, this was their first varsity game,” Panthers coach George Martinez said. “They got their lunch handed to them.
“We are young. We are going to be a good ball club once our kids grow with more repetition, practice and development. South Mountain got things going good over there and they did a good job.”
South Mountain poses after beating Maryvale with the once fully filled stands of Panthers fans in the background now nearly empty. Co-head coaches, Mark and Marcus Carter, are in the front on the left.