YUMA, Ariz. – One fumble changed the entire game on Saturday afternoon for the 11th-ranked Arizona Western College football team (5-3 overall, 3-2 Western States Football League). The Mats lost 31-10 to eighth-ranked Snow College (7-1 overall, 4-1 WSFL). The loss snapped a three-game winning streak for AWC.
The Mats were down 14-10 in the third quarter, but they were marching methodically down the field and seemed destined for points. The drive carried into the fourth quarter, and running back John Oliver ran off tackle and was stood up after picking up four yards. The play was never blown dead though, and Snow safety Simote Lokotui came in and ripped the ball out before racing 80 yards the other way for a touchdown. After the extra point, Snow led 21-10 with 13:31 to play.
AWC’s offense stalled out after that and turned it over on downs on three straight possessions. Meanwhile, Snow pulled away with a field goal and a 46-yard touchdown run by Jaylen Warren that iced the game with 2:12 to go.
At the start of the game, AWC quarterback Logan Byrd threw an interception on the opening possession of the game. Snow marched down the field with a 10 play drive. Braxton Kerr threw an eight-yard touchdown pass to Azaviar Kuffour to put Snow up 7-0 with 9:26 to go in the first quarter.
From that point on, both defenses proved impenetrable until late in the second quarter. The Mats took over at their own 43, and Jacquez Carter broke free on third and one for a 40-yard run all the way inside the Snow 10 yard line. Carter scored two plays later on a one-yard touchdown run that tied the score at seven.
AWC safety Bryce Beekman forced a Snow fumble with 1:52 to go in the half, and Elijah Blades recovered at the AWC 45. The Mats managed the clock while moving down to the Snow 12. Alec Fonseca launched a 29-yard field goal to put AWC up 10-7 at the half.
Snow turned it over on downs to start the third quarter, but the Mats gave it back when Dallas Daniels threw an interception on a trick play. Snow’s offense turned on the turbo and stormed down the field in two-and-a-half minutes for a touchdown. Kerr found Derek Wright for a 16-yard touchdown to take a 14-10 lead with 6:27 left in the quarter.
The fateful fumble occurred on the very next series.
Jadon Hayes led the Matador ground game with 87 yards on 16 carries. Wide receiver Johnny King, Jr. set a career high with six catches for 95 yards.
AWC heads to Eastern Arizona College next Saturday at 7:00 p.m. The game will be broadcast on 560 AM KBLU.
Arizona Western College is one of the top community colleges in Arizona. The college boasts partnerships with all three state universities that include face-to-face classes in Yuma.