Williams JV outlasts Seligman in 8-man thriller
Chance Grantham scored on a 48-yard screen pass with 29 seconds left in the fourth quarter Saturday night to give the Williams High School junior varsity a 40-38 victory over Seligman's varsity.
Playing under eight-man rules on Viking Stadium's 100-yard field, the game's final 3 1/2 minutes saw four lead changes. Grantham caught the screen pass from quarterback Jon Garcia on the right side of the field, broke a tackle and then zig-zagged his way toward the left to score the touchdown.
Coaches and players jumped up and down while Grantham was scoring the TD. Seligman players could only shake their heads after they had come back from a 22-point deficit to take the lead only to end up losing.
"The eight-man days are back," JV coach Richard said with a smile afterward. The Vikings played eight-man football for a number of years in the 1980s and 1990s, winning a couple of state championships.
"The kids never quit, even scoring two touchdowns in the last few minutes of the game," Cox said.
Williams controlled the first half to build a 28-6 lead. Ryan Barnes was unstoppable in the second quarter, scoring three touchdowns.
Garcia scored on a 1-yard run for the first TD of the game. On the ensuing kickoff, Seligman's Juan Delgadillo returned the kickoff 79 yards to tie the game back up.
The Vikes scored three TDs in the second quarter. Garcia hooked up with Barnes on TD passes of 16 and then 17 yards. With 58 seconds left in the half, Barnes ran back an interception 25 yards for another score.
Field position proved to play a pivotal role throughout the game. Williams started its first seven possessions of the game at the 50-yard line or in Seligman territory. The Antelopes, meanwhile, started all 12 of their possessions on their own side of the field.
Down 28-6 at the break, Seligman came out in the second half and chipped away at the lead.
"Our tackling was not very good in the second half," Cox said. "Playing with only eight guys on a 100-yard field, it creates major running lanes."
Delgadillo and Daniel Ernest found most of those running lanes. Ernest rushed for 163 yards on 17 carries while Delgadillo had 85 yards on 14 carries. Most of those yards came in the second half.
"We were playing loose on defense," Cox said. "We were expecting them to pass."
The Vikes were ready on many of those pass attempts, picking off four on the day.
The Antelopes took the momentum away from Williams right away in the third quarter. Delgadillo returned the kickoff 83 yards for a TD, his second of the game.
On the next Williams series, the Vikings appeared to have things going with three first downs and big holes behind the line.
After driving to the Seligman 15, the Viking offense began to go backward. Seligman had four straight tackles for losses pushing Williams back 26 yards.
"After that momentum switch, it was tough to get that back," Cox said.
From there, Seligman began to look like the team that had gotten off to a 2-0 start this season. Rocque Montoya scored on a four-yard run in the third quarter and then Ernest scored the first of his three touchdowns in the fourth quarter.
In what proved to be a very important play in the game, Barnes broke up the two-point conversion pass attempt to keep the Williams lead at 28-24.
In the fourth, Ernest scored on a 14-yard run to give Seligman the lead with 9:40 remaining.
Williams followed by going three-and-out and punting the ball back to the Antelopes. But Seligman faltered this time after an interception by Barnes ended the drive.
Williams couldn't do anything with the good field position and Seligman's Delgadillo gave his team the ball back with an interception.
On the first play after the turnover, Ernest scored on a 59-yard run to the delight of the Seligman fans. The two-point conversion pass was good this time to put the Antelopes on top, 32-28.
Williams then began to move the ball better. Garcia began the drive with a 28-yard run and Mariano Zabala followed with an 11-yard run. Two plays later, Garcia dumped a screen pass to John Kennelly, who then broke a tackle and sprinted downfield for a 25-yard touchdown with 2:06 left.
Seligman came right back. Ernest broke free on a 21-yard gainer, knocked out of bounds by Barnes to save the TD. But two players later, Ernest was off and running again for 23 yards and the touchdown with only 55 seconds left.
On the ensuing kickoff, Barnes returned the ball 27 yards to the Seligman 48. The Vikes called for the screen pass again and Grantham worked his magic for the TD.
Zabala ran for 153 yards on 24 carries, 79 yards in the first quarter alone.
Williams JV (2-0) hosted St. Johns Tuesday in a game after presstime.