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Les WillseyStaff Writer, AIA365.com email@example.com
Queen Creek ends Nogales' run, advances to D-III FB finalNov 17, 2012
An inspiring run some four minutes into the game and a stingy defense added up to a great night for Queen Creek's football team.
Junior running back Matt Guida's sensational 62-yard run nearly midway through the opening period set up the first score of the game and the Bulldogs impressed the rest of the way in stopping the surprise of the football postseason -- Nogales -- 35-0 in a Division III semifinal at Campo Verde High School.
Queen Creek (13-0) will make only its second championship game appearance in school history next Saturday (Nov. 24) at 3 p.m. at Sun Devil Stadium. The only other time Queen Creek reached a championship game (2A level) was in 1998 when current coach Joe Germaine was settting records quarterbacking Ohio State. The Bulldogs opponent will be top-seed and unbeaten Desert Edge, which defeated No. 5 Williams Field, 37-27, in the other semifinal. Nogales, a rare No. 14 seed to advance two rounds, concluded the year 10-3.
Guida, a 5-foot-11, 190-pound junior, electrified the stadium with a jaunt that brought the Bulldogs from deep in their territory to the red zone. Guida used speed, power and even hurdled would-be-tacklerson a play that swung momentum -- if anywhere at the time-- was with Nogales. Three plays later Guida burrowed across the goal-line for the first of his three touchdowns with 6:14 left in the quarter. Guida's burst set another typical night in motion for him. He finished with 213 yards on 17 carries adn sat out the final quarter.
"Matt runs hard, has the instincts for the position," Germaine said. "Our line, fullbacks, receivers they go all out blocking for him."
Nogales, which knocked off unbeaten and No. 3 Sabino in the opening round and No. 11 Sunrise Mountain in the quarters, forced a turnover on the opening possession fo the game. Nogales' Coy Colgate recovered a fumble at the Nogales 45 on the fifth play from scrimmage. Queen Creek managed a three-and-out, but the Apaches pinned Queen Creek at its 3 after a 52-yard punt. Guida, who had minus-1 yard rushing after two carries, took over with his first long run stunning Nogales. Not that they hadn't seen runs similar to that on film.
"He ran hard, basically ran over people," Nogales coach Vince Villanucci said of Guida. "They ran power football and threw in a little finesse. They're a good, well-balanced team with lots of weapons. We have weapons, too. Just not as many as they do."
Queen Creek made it 14-0 with its first possession of the second quarter. This march of 65 yards in five plays ended with a 32-yard TD run by Guida with 9:42 left before halftime. Nogales drove inside Queen Creek's 40 twice in the second period, but interceptions ended both possessions -- one by Luis Moreno and the other by Derek Arrington. Queen Creek took ithe 14-0 lead to intermission, outgaining the Apaches 267-107.
The second half was more of the same with a dose of running back Marcus Still thrown in for Queen Creek. Still, also a junior, gave Guida a couple of breathers and capped a 69-yard march on Queen Creek's first possession of the second half with a 33-yard TD run. Still carried three times for 18 yards in the first half. He added seven attempts for 103 yards in the second half, including the game's final TD on a 3-yard run with 4:15 left to play. Guida capped his eighth 200-yard plus rushing night of the season with a 4-yard TD with 15 seconds left in the third quarter that made it 28-0.
Germaine, looking at the scoreboard as his team celebrated the victory, was pleased.
"That's a perfect outcome," Germaine said. "Exactly what we're looking for. It wasn't our best game of the year Xs and Os wise, but given the situation there hasn't been a bigger game."
Nogales came closest to scoring twice in the final period. They reached Queen Creek's 15 a few minutes into the final period, but couldn't advance further after four incompletions. A 55-yard completion from quarterback Marcel Renteria to Jason Luna with four minutes left set the Apaches up with a first-and-goal at the Queen Creek 9. The Apaches managed three yards and fourth-down pass fell incomplete.
Renteria finished 13-of-31 passing for 131 yards and two interceptions. Leading rusher Brian McCarty rushed for 65 yards and caught six passes for 18 yards.