SAN TAN VALLEY — Mingus Union football started and finished their season opener strong but were unable to overcome second and third quarter mistakes.

San Tan Valley Combs scored 36 points after falling behind early to beat the Marauders at home 36-21 on Friday night.

“The game of football is a rollercoaster man, just like the game of life,” Mingus head coach Robert Ortiz said. “We had our ups, we had our downs, we had our opportunities; definitely some fundamental errors that we can clean up. We can sort those things out, I believe we had four turnovers, we lose by two scores, you take those out of the equation and it’s a two score swing our direction. We put together some drives, we put together some defensive stances, you know just a couple misalignments, late echo on calls, things like that, but it’s nothing that we can’t sort through, kinda figured something like this, something of this nature could be in the works and nothing we can’t work through.”

In addition to turnovers costing the Marauders chances, they led to Coyotes scores like an errant snap on a punt that led to a safety and Combs scored on that ensuing drive too. Plus the Marauders turned the ball over on downs on their opening drive when they came near the Combs goal line.

“I believe we’re on the brink man, we’re right there,” Ortiz said. “It’s game one, usually you expect to have a better showing after a couple scrimmages and work throughs of some stuff but these are mistakes that we haven’t made in those scrimmages, we didn’t have fumbles in our scrimmages, we didn’t have bad snaps in our scrimmages and all of a sudden things that were non issues are now issues, so we gotta clean that up but outside of that, we’re right on the brink, there’s nothing that this group can’t handle, they understand that they’re still trying to figure out how to gel and mesh together and I think that was a product of that (Friday) night as their starting to figure out their roles; this is where you really start to piece it together and I think they’re understanding what their roles are and if they just do their jobs.”

Ortiz said the young Marauders made mistakes as they fell behind and tried to catch up.

Week 0 football scores

4A Grand Canyon

Estrella Foothills 33, Bradshaw Mountain 26

Desert Edge 34, Prescott 24

Lee Williams 6, Lake Havasu 0

2A Verde

Parker 30, Chino Valley 23

Trivium Prep 47, Glendale Prep 14


Buckeye Union 52, Amphitheater 20

Apache Junction 41, North Canyon 21

Casa Grande 52, Palo Verde Magnet 8

Buena 35, Catalina Foothills 6

Washington 55 Dysart 0

Gila Ridge 28, Brawley (Calif.) 19

Mesquite 41, Gilbert 24

Saguaro 63, Poston Butte 0

Sahuaro 55, Vista Grande 0


Alchesay 22, Globe 6

Arizona Lutheran 49, Holbrook 16

Phoenix Christian 69, North Pointe Prep 14

Yuma Catholic 62, San Manuel 7

Scottsdale Prep 36, Heritage Academy Laveen 0

St. Johns 41, Kingman Academy 0

Full scoreboard:

“We get a turnover, we’ve got cover three and we get a guy that bites on a hitch route because he’s trying to do somebody else’s job, give up the big play that was easily avoidable,” Ortiz said. “Those are things that we can clean up but I think seeing what they saw (Friday) night), they understand that ‘hey if I would have just did my job, the things that coach coached me to do, we would have been more successful’ and that’s what it takes.”

After nearly scoring on their first drive, Mingus Union junior running back Marckensley Similien ran for a highlight reel 30-yard touchdown for the Marauders’ first score of the year. However the Marauders fumbled on the next drive and lost momentum with the ball.

“That was electric, that was the energy booster that we felt we needed,” Ortiz said. “I felt like both teams started a little bit slower than we probably would have liked and that was an energy booster and then the next series you have a fumble and a turnover and it’s just like that’s an energy killer and if we can find ways to keep energy up and keep positive things going and we rip off a long run but we also tag it with a fumble, it can’t happen. So it was a huge run but it’s what happens next that usually sets you up for how the game’s gonna go.”

Combs would go on to cut the Mingus Union lead to 7-2 in the second quarter on the safety and then they scored a touchdown after the Marauders’ short kick off. The Coyotes then scored after 50-yard reception to lead 15-7 at the half.

“That’s a great football team,” Coach (Travis) Miller’s doing a great job down here. Him and I were talking before the game about their situation with surrounding high schools and where they’re located at and things like that, but he runs a good, clean program, his kids are fighters. They remind me a lot of Cottonwood type kids, the type of kids they are and their backgrounds and everything of that nature, so you know you’re going up against a very similar opponent that’s gonna give you a dog fight, whether they’re up or down or it’s tied and they’re gonna do what they need to do and he puts them in good positions to win football games and we were there, we were there.”

Combs scored a couple more to go up 29-7 after three quarters. Mingus Union responded with a touchdown from junior running back Andrew Meyer and 20-yard touchdown by Peter Calandra. The Marauders tried to rally even into the last minute as cramps and injuries piled up.

“That’s our kids,” Ortiz said. “Our kids are fighters, we know our kids are fighters. We know our kids are gonna go hard every play up until the last whistle blows. Like I said, it wasn’t that we were doing a lot wrong, it’s just one mistake here and one mistakes there and then bam. So if we can limit or minimize those mistakes, we’re gonna maximize the number of opportunities that we should have had (Friday) night and they’re just opportunities that were taken away from us.”


The Marauders head to Show Low on Friday for the second of their three game season opening road swing. The 3A Cougars opened the season with a 36-18 win at 2A Eagar Round Valley.

“Show Low will be a tough football team, they always are, good, hard nosed football players, nothing that our kids can’t handle, so we gotta just sort some stuff out and get ready for opponent No. 2,” Ortiz said.

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