PRESCOTT- Three teams are vying for the Grand Canyon section title as high school football enters the final Friday of the season.
The Bradshaw Bears currently lead the section by one game over the Mingus Marauders and Prescott Badgers. The Badgers and Bears revive their annual rivalry game Friday night with big implications.
If the Badgers beat Bradshaw, they come into a tie with their rival meanwhile opening a door for Mingus to tie as well if they come out victorious. If Bradshaw is able to hold off the Badgers, they will win the section.
Looking at the Friday matchup, both teams have impressive running attacks but Prescott clearly holds the advantage in this department with the talented backfield made up of Ryan Greene, Collin Mills, David Pearce, Dawson Winslow and Arthur McCracken.
However, the complexity of the Bears offense makes it a nightmare for opposing teams. Quarterback Gunner Bundrick is one of the best quarterbacks in the section due to his arm and legs. Bundrick averages around 250 yards per game through the air and, according to Max Preps, leads the section in passing yards with an outstanding 2,267 yards on the season; which is 1,355 more yards than the second place spot. Bundrick has plenty of options to receive the ball as the Bears own the top three positions in receiving yards for the section with Ryan Shaver leading the group with 841 yards, Nick Othon with 505 yards while Timmy Young comes in third with 354 yards on the season so far. If there are no options available, Bundrick has shown he is not afraid to use his legs to create some room and gain the first down. He currently holds the fourth spot in rushing yards for the section just 100 yards behind the Badgers’ Greene.
Throughout the season, the Badgers have been known for their impressive running attack. However, teams quickly caught on and started stacking the box in a attempt to slow the Badgers strength. After a 48-12 loss to Mingus, coach Michael Gilpin switched things up going into the next matchup against Coconino at home. Gilpin moved Greene, who was the quarterback, to a running back role. Meanwhile, Austin Clark, a sophomore, flourished after taking control of the reigns throwing five touchdowns for 160 yards combined in the two blowout wins over Coconino and Flagstaff. Coach Gilpin said after the Coconino win that the move relieved some pressure off Greene and allowed the offense to be more diverse.
Both teams are high-powered offenses and come into the game on winning streaks with the Badgers’ two and the Bears’ five. The rivalry is hot and is sure to be a hard-fought game between two long-time rivals. Kickoff is Friday at 7pm at Bradshaw Mountain High School in Prescott Valley, Arizona.