Snow Badgers, down 17 first

quarter, finish strong against

Artichokes, take 51-48 victory

 

By James Tilson

Staff writer

Nov. 9, 2017

 

SCOTTSDALE—After falling behind 24-7 in the first quarter, the Snow College Badgers fought back against the Scottsdale Community College Artichokes and took the lead late in the fourth quarter to earn a 51-48 win on Saturday, Nov. 4.

The game started disastrously for the Badgers on a Scottsdale field which has proven to be “bad juju” for the Snow College football team.

On the five possessions the Badgers had in the first quarter, three ended in turnovers, and another ended with a punt return that landed on the Badger 17 yard line. Of the Artichokes’ 24 first-quarter points, 17 of them were the result of Badger miscues.

But even with the mistakes, the Badger offense performed well. The Badgers had more first downs in the first quarter than the Artichokes, 6-4. And when they weren’t backed up on a short field by a turnover, the Badger defense mostly held the fast-paced Artichoke offense in check.

By the end of the second quarter, the Badgers had scratched back to within a touchdown of the Artichokes, 34-27, on a touchdown drive that ended right before half-time.

But the Badgers’ hopes suffered a blow when starting quarterback Shane Johnson injured his right leg and could not come back for the rest of the game. Johnson had been a vital spark to the Badger offense with his ability to scramble and pick up yardage from the QB position.

Back-up quarterback Nick Robbins (a former Juab High stand-out) came in for Johnson, and finished the drive right before half, but without Johnson’s scrambling ability, the Artichoke defense began keying on the Badger rushing attack, slowing down the Badger offense.

In the second half, the Badgers looked to ride the momentum they had gathered at the end of the first half, and had the first possession. But once again, a Badger miscue cost them points. A fumble on the Artichoke 1-yard line gave away possession on what surely would have been more points for the Badgers.

On a subsequent Artichoke drive, an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty on the Badger defense gave the Artichokes a big push into Badger territory, and led to another Artichoke touchdown. The two teams battled back and forth in the third quarter, with the Badgers not quite able to get over the hump. The score at the end of the third quarter was 41-37.

In the fourth quarter, the teams started by trading possessions back and forth without either team scoring. Then mid-way through the quarter, the Badgers, with the help of Robbins downfield passing, strung together a drive that ended in a touchdown and the Badgers first lead of the night, 41-44.

The Artichokes roared right back and, aided by yet another Badger penalty, scored to take back the lead 48-44.

The Badgers took over with a little less than four minutes left in the game. On the first play of the drive, running back Jaylen Warren broke through the middle and sprinted for a 66-yard gain, to set up the Badgers deep in the Artichoke end of the field. Three plays later, Robbins connected in the back of the end zone with Derek Wright to take back the lead, 48-51, with less than two minutes left in the game.

The Artichokes, gunning to get down the field as fast as possible, threw the ball on every play. They managed to cross midfield before the Badgers finally picked off a tipped pass to take back possession of the ball with the chance to ice the game. However, the Badgers could not manage to get a first down, and had to punt the ball.

But the Artichokes got the ball back deep in their end of the field with only 19 seconds remaining, but could not get the ball downfield against the Badger defense, and the game ended with the Badgers victorious.

Snow College will play again this coming Saturday against Phoenix Community College, in what will be the final regular season football game of the year for Snow College. The Badgers are still awaiting a bowl destination for the post-season.