Badgers outscore Bears 21-0 in fourth quarter, win 42-14
EPHRAIM—Last Saturday’s football game between Snow College and Phoenix was tied at 14 midway through the third quarter, but the Badgers took control of the closing minutes to score 28 unanswered points, wrapping up the 2016 season with a 42-14 win and an 8-2 record.
The Badgers struck pay dirt early, taking the opening possession of the game and moving to their 48-yard line. From there, on the fourth play of the game, Daymon Murray followed a pulling block from Moroni Iniguez through a hole in the Phoenix defense and went 58 yards for the score.
On their next possession, the Badgers used solid running by Murray and a 28-yard pass from Justin Miller to Alex Croyle to get into the red zone. Looking at a third and goal from the six, Miller lobbed a pass to the corner of the end zone where Brandon Jones outjumped the defense for a 14-0 lead.
With time running out in the first half, it looked as if the Badgers would score again as they lined up for a field goal attempt. The kick was blocked and the ball returned by Phoenix to score with no time on the clock.
The Bears scored again early in the third to tie the game at 14. That was when the Badgers took to heart the halftime challenge issued by head coach Britt Maughn.
“I was really disappointed in the way our team was playing in the second quarter,” Maughn said. “ I told them ’Let’s be the players we want to be. Let’s be the players that we say we are.’ I was proud of the way they responded.”
From that point on, Snow’s defense held Phoenix scoreless, and the offense reached the end zone four more times.
After getting into the red zone again, miscues had Snow looking at third and goal from the nine. Repeating their earlier completion, Miller again connected with Jones in the back corner of the end zone to make it 21-14.
Next, it was a wide receiver pass from Ruben Saint Jean to Croyle that got the Badgers into scoring position. The reverse to Malik Overstreet took it in from the ten for a 28-14 score.
Facing second and goal from the 16, Murray took the handoff and dragged half a dozen defenders to the one. From there Murray took the handoff, showed good patience as he waited for a hole to open and darted into the end zone.
The final score of the game came with the Badgers sticking to the running game to burn time off the clock. Once again, Murray waited for his blockers to do their job and went untouched on a 43-yard touchdown run.
Miller was an impressive 20 of 28, passing for 239 yards. Croyle had seven catches for 104 yards. Overstreet had six catches for 47 yards, Jones had four receptions for 43 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Saint Jean caught three for 36 yards and Murray had a nine-yard catch.
Snow had 252 yards rushing, 241 on the legs of Murray, who was moved from his spot as safety to running back. “We’ve had a rash of injuries [at the running back spot],” Maughn said. He went on to explain that the coaches knew Murray was a great athlete who could fill the vacated spot. “He’s started two games for us and has over 400 yards rushing.”
Defensively, the Badgers held a normally potent Bear offense to 206 yards. Ofa Latu led Snow with eight tackles, Jojo Henderson had seven, and Jantz Arbon, Alani Pututua and Sione Tu’lkolovatu had six each.
Ranked No. 11 in the nation going into the game, the Badgers are now waiting to hear if they get a bowl game invitation. Although optimistic, Maughn realizes such an invitation is out of his hands.
“Bowl bids are so subjective,” Maughn said. “There are so many factors that play into it.
One factor that will be considered is the strength of the Western States Football League (WSFL).
“We have three teams in the top ten,” Maughn said. Undefeated Arizona Western is in the running for a national championship.
Regardless of whether the Badgers get a bowl invitation, Maughn says he is pleased with his players.
“In the past three years we have a record of 26-5,” he said. “There’s only one other three year period in the history of Snow College with a better record.”