The third time was the charm.
Friday’s game between Kanab and Diamond Ranch has been circled on the calendar for the Cowboys, and for good reason, as they’ve been knocked out of the playoffs by the Diamondbacks over the past two seasons by a combined four points.
Kanab made sure the game didn’t come down to the wire as the led from start to finish for the 40-18 victory on the road in a rematch of last year’s 1A state championship game.
“It’s the best feeling I’ve had all year and it’s our biggest win of the season,” Kanab senior Layne Anderson said. “But we have to keep working hard because we are probably going to see (DRA) again in the playoffs and hopefully we can finish the game this time.”
The Cowboys were impressive right out of the gates as they scored on the first play of the game.
Anderson got the ball on the reverse and after shaking a couple of tacklers, ran untouched down the sidelines for an 85-yard touchdown.
“That was amazing,” Anderson said smiling. “We’ve been working on that play for a long time now and to execute it like that was a lot of fun. I owe everything to my teammates because they opened up a big lane for me.”
The Cowboys answered on its ensuing possession as quarterback Tavin Ott threw one of his four touchdowns on the day to Monte Glover. Glover took the screen pass, made a man miss and then danced his way into the end zone to put Kanab up 14-0 in the first quarter.
Anderson would later add a 5-yard touchdown run in the second quarter and to put the Cowboys up 27-0 at the half.
Justin Giles (@JustinGiles22) October 15, 2016
“I just told our kids at halftime to stay hungry because I knew they were going to make a comeback,” Kanab head coach Bucky Orton. “They have some special players over there and with their size and speed they just wear teams down.”
The Diamondbacks did make a game of it in the second half with two consecutive touchdowns to cut the deficit to 27-12 after a missed two-point conversion.
Quarterback Thomas McCann found Desmond Elder for the 33-yard score and then hit Alex Carol over the middle for a 13-yard touchdown. But that’s as close as the Diamond backs would get as the Cowboys answered with two touchdowns of their own to pull away.
The last touchdown for the Cowboys was setup by Jackson Swain’s 80-yard interception return to put Kanab in the red zone. Ott then found Porter Johnson out in the flat to put the cowboys up 40-12.
DRA answered right back just two plays later as McCann found Aaron Kern for a 70-yard touchdown pass as Kern got behind the defense and caught the ball in stride. But it was too little too late for the Diamondbacks.
“The kids didn’t play up to their standards in the first half and it showed,” DRA head coach Ricky Dias. “It’s probably our fault as a coaching staff for putting too much emphasis on tonight’s game and built it up bigger than it should have been.
“But I’m proud of how we finished and we fix some things and get back to work next week.”
Next up for the Diamondbacks is a Friday road game at Milford.