Put this one in the “we’ll take it” category.
Fumbles, penalties and lack of timely execution all gave Phoenix Paradise Valley coach Donnie Yantis reasons for concerns.
Perhaps by the draw of the schedule, Paradise Valley was able to overcome a plethora of problems and defeat host Surprise Willow Canyon 40-21 in a Division II non-section contest.
Paradise Valley (4-1) coughed by the ball four times and incurred 10 penalties for 105 yards. Still, they managed to accumulate 430 yards of total offense but never appeared threatened.
After a slow first half, Paradise Valley running back Bailey Thompson put on the jets and powered to a commanding 211 yards on the ground on 21 carries. Coupled with quarterback Daniel Bridge-Gadd’s impressive 16-for-22 effort for 183 yards and one touchdown, Paradise Valley gained its fourth win in five games.
“I missed several reads in the first half, but I got on track in the second,” said Thompson, who scored on runs of 46 and 49 yards. “We have Arcadia and homecoming next week, and we need to get better. We have to have a good week of practice and clean up all the stupid mistakes.”
Willow Canyon (0-5), playing its first game under new head Joe Martinez, managed to forge a 7-7 tie early in the second quarter when senior quarterback Tristan Madden scored on a 3-yard touchdown run.
Paradise Valley then scored twice on its next three possessions before intermission. When Bridge-Gadd hit Jordan Brown on a 16-yard scoring strike with 37 seconds before the half, it created a two-touchdown lead at intermission.
With Paradise Valley up 27-7, Jacob Brown’s 87-yard interception return for a touchdown on the second play of the fourth quarter iced this one. That put Paradise Valley up 33-7 at that point and they eventually cruised to a 19-point victory.
“Way too many mistakes and we need to clean this up,” Yantis said. “We need to take care of the ball. We had poor reads, poor exchanges, and receivers getting behind our defensive backs.”
While Paradise Valley racked up 430 yards of total offense, Willow Canyon gained 293 yards overall.
Junior running back Alex Gallaspy topped Willow Canyon with 54 yards on the ground on eight carries. Madden finished with a 12-for-32 night, 170 yards, two touchdowns but three interceptions.