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Apache Trail's air attack 'too tough' for Harvest Prep
The Harvest Prep football team sustained some long drives on offense, but its defense was no match for the big plays of Apache Junction-Apache Trail.
The Wolfpack's passing attack sliced up the Eagles' defense, and Apache Trail won 58-28 Friday night at Ray Kroc Complex.
Apache Trail had eight plays for more than 25 yards. Junior quarterback Tate Powser went 18 for 29 for 339 yards and five touchdowns for the Wolfpack.
“Their passing attack was way too tough. They can throw the ball. They have a good quarterback and a couple good receivers,” Harvest Prep coach Nathen Baker said.
Powser also had four carries for 95 yards.
Apache Trail senior receiver Kevin Box, the reigning player of the year, had three catches for 122 yards and two touchdowns, senior tight end Coddy Mitchell had four catches for 64 yards and senior receiver Brian Drennan had four catches for 72 yards and two touchdowns — as well as a 60-yard punt return and a 34-yard fumble return for touchdowns.
“I think we shut down (Box) pretty well, but it left it open for the other guys,” Harvest Prep senior safety Anthony Messer said.
Harvest Prep senior running back Ruben Anaya had a game-high 129 rushing yards and a touchdown, junior quarterback M.J. Ybarra went 11 of 19 for 95 yards and a touchdown as well as a pair of rushing touchdowns and Messer had 77 rushing yards and an interception.
“Offensively we made a few mistakes but it was an overall good game for the offense,” Baker said.
The Wolfpack scored three plays into the game on a 28-yard connection from Powser to Box. Facing a fourth-and-5 on the Apache Trail 48-yard line, Anaya took a counter 45 yards down the left sideline to set up a 3-yard touchdown run by Ybarra.
Midway through the second quarter, Powser connected with junior Bradley Sowards for a 3-yard touchdown pass to put the Wolfpack up 26-6. On the opening play of the Eagles' next drive, Anaya was stripped of the ball on the left sideline. Drennan scooped it up and ran 34 yards for the touchdown and the Wolfpack led 34-6 — 28 unanswered points for Apache Trail.
The Eagles responded by going on an 11-play drive capped off by another 3-yard touchdown run by Ybarra with a minute left in the half, and the two-point conversion by Anaya cut the lead to 34-14.
However, Apache Trail didn't need much time to make a late drive — going 80 yards on three plays, including a 32-yard run by Powser and a 34-yard touchdown pass to Drennan.
“They felt like they were doing good, and then the big play went over the top and it probably was a shot in the heart for them,” Baker said of Apache Trail's big plays.
Harvest Prep scored on a 16-yard pass from Ybarra to Messer, who caught it after it bounced off the helmet of the defender. Early in the fourth quarter, Anaya had a 24-yard touchdown run to cap off the scoring for both teams.
While Baker knew that the Wolfpack had a threat in Box, he didn't realize how well-rounded their passing attack was and that Powser had plenty of weapons to choose from.
“Honestly, they were better than I expected,” Baker said.
Jesse Severson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 539-6881. Find him on Facebook at facebook.com/YSJesseSeverson.