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If Sedona Red Rock High head football coach Rob Lezcano could pass a law stating his Scorpions need only to play the second half, skipping the first half entirely, he probably would do so.

For the second straight week, Sedona football fans watched their team fall behind early, this time to rival Williams High. The Scorpions couldn’t recover as they dropped to 0-2 [0-0, 3A-West] on the season, 27-24.

Sedona kicked off to Williams and the Scorpion defense held the Vikings offense to three-and-out, forcing them to punt.

srrhs-f-ball-9-9On Sedona’s first play from scrimmage, senior quarterback Pedro Ortega Jr. pitched it to junior wideout Troy Loparco for what looked like a sweep play.

Williams overplayed it as Loparco was ready for it, firing a rocket 30 yards downfield to wide open senior receiver Ben Fazekas.

If Fazekas caught the ball it was 6-0 Sedona, but unfortunately he dropped it, and instead the Scorpions had to settle for second down with 10 yards to go.

“I knew they would overplay that sweep play because we ran it a few times last week with success. I called the right play and Troy [Loparco] made a great throw but Ben [Fazekas] just dropped it. Ben is a great player for us and will catch many touchdowns for us this season, just not this time,” Lezcano said after the game.

The play shifted the entire course of the game as Williams went on to take a 20-0 lead at halftime as the Scorpion defense had trouble stopping the Williams offensive attack which totaled 155 yards in the air and 170 yards on the ground.

“It’s like we come out hesitant to play football in the first half. We know what to do, we just don’t do it,” senior tailback Dylan Watkins said.

Watkins certainly brought his “A” game against Williams on Friday, Sept. 4, carrying the ball eight times for 120 yards and two touchdowns.

He caught two balls for 13 yards, had a punt return for 11 yards and had two kickoff returns equaling 50 yards, not to mention he led the team in tackles with 16 on the night.

The mood is certainly different in the second half around the Scorpion bench this season, making it one of the more enjoyable Sedona football teams to watch in recent years.

Watkins gave Sedona its first score with 6:05 remaining in the third quarter to make it 20-6, Williams.

The score rejuvenated a Scorpion team looking for something positive and the boys took it from there.

Watkins’ name again would pop up to begin the fourth quarter as the senior back scampered 70 yards for a touchdown on Sedona’s first offensive play of the quarter to make it a 27-12 game.

Senior kicker Ryan Cadigan was nowhere to be found on the sidelines, forcing Sedona to go for two for the second time on the night. The two-point conversion was no good, keeping the score at 27-12.

It was not reported where Cadigan was, but he was not in uniform for the entire contest against Williams.

Missing their best kicker hurt the Scorpions in the long run as they did their best to come back against Williams in the fourth quarter, scoring three touchdowns in the period.

The Scorpions would recover a fumble on the ensuing Williams possession as sophomore safety Bradley Cox fell on top of it to give Sedona the ball back with 11:32 remaining in the game.

The halfback pass from Loparco to Fazekas was called again by Lezcano and worked to perfection this time, giving Sedona another score to make it 27-18 with 11:22 to go.

“They were all worried about the fumble they just had and we didn’t wait to go for it all,” Lezcano said.

With 4:16 to go and Williams driving, trying like crazy to put this game to bed, senior Dylan Shugrue intercepted a Darius Brown pass and returned it 55 yards to give Sedona another chance.

Ortega and his offense took advantage as Ortega hid the ball well on a handoff and walked into the end zone on the left side to give Sedona another score, making it 27-24.

Sedona again failed the two-point conversion, making them 0-4 on the night which ended up being the difference in the game.

The Scorpions would get one more last gasp at a victory as Ortega set Sedona up with a 37-yard broken play run with 46 seconds remaining.

“This group of players we have here have worked so hard to get here and it shows with our determination. It’s the best football team I’ve been on here and I think we’re ready to start winning,” Ortega said after the game.

Ortega had eight carries for 88 yards on the night including the touchdown and completed two of seven passes for 11 yards.

With 18 seconds to go, sophomore Jack Johnson was called upon to heave the ball into the end zone, but didn’t have much time in the pocket, throwing the ball too early.

As it landed near the end zone without a Sedona receiver within 10 yards of it, the air went out of the stands as Williams needed only to down the ball to end the game.

“We were prepared so well for what Williams was going to do. We just didn’t make the plays when we needed to. The boys were in position to do it, and they didn’t, and that’s why we lost,” Lezcano said.

Next up for the Scorpions will be another home game, this time against rival Camp Verde High on Friday, Sept. 11.

Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m.

Brian Bergner Jr. can be reached at 282-7795, ext. 131, or e-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


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