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The Sedona Red Rock High football team dropped their season opener to Needles High [Needles, Calif.], 40-6, on Saturday, Aug. 25.
By Brian Bergner Jr.
Larson Newspapers

The Sedona Red Rock High football team dropped their season opener to Needles High [Needles, Calif.], 40-6, on Saturday, Aug. 25.

The game was played at the J. Lawrence Walkup Skydome on the campus of Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff.

The loss drops Sedona’s record to 0-1 [0-0] on the season.

Every year NAU invites a handful of teams to play in the Skydome to kick off another season of high school football.

Since the game was played on turf, Needles played like they were the 1999 Super Bowl champion St. Louis Rams.

The Rams were deemed by local and national sports writers that year as “the greatest show on turf” for their high scoring offense and the passing ability of Kurt Warner, who won the National Football League’s Most Valuable Player Award that season.

Needles senior quarterback Michael Evans is no Warner, but he did throw for over 300 yards and five touchdowns against the Scorpions on Saturday.

“My job is to get these kids ready to play football and I didn’t get it done,” Sedona head coach Brian Batty said.

The receiver who caught all those passes was junior wide-out Darra Russel.

He had over 200 yards receiving with four touchdown catches, including a 97-yard reception which went for a touchdown.

“We just couldn’t keep up with him.  He was so fast,” Batty said.

In the first quarter, Sedona was out-scored 16-0 as the boys looked a little lost at times.

All three first half time outs were used in the first nine minutes of the game.

A few delay of game penalties came into the mix as well, which added even more frustration to the Scorpions sideline.

The second quarter was much of the same for the Scorpions, as they had trouble moving the football against Needles High.

The Scor-pions turned the ball over a handful of times as well and found themselves down 28-0 at the half.

In the third quarter, Sedona allowed two more touchdowns to Needles, which took a 40-0 lead at the end of three quarters.

The Scorpions defense did, however, put a stop to the Needles running game, which at the end of the day was a positive.

“We stopped them from running the ball consistently. We just couldn’t stop the big play by their quarterback and receiver,” Batty said.

In the fourth quarter, the Scorpions did score a touchdown on a 4-yard run by senior tailback Tyler Horchak.

Horchak had 15 carries for 80 yards and the touchdown on the day.

“Tyler [Horchak] plays hard both ways, and he does anything he can to help us win,” Batty said.

Junior quarterback Sammy Holeyfield wasn’t as successful as his teammate unfortunately.

Holeyfield only completed eight of 24 passing attempts for 52 yards.

He also was picked off twice by Needles junior cornerback Stevie Kidd.

“Sammy [Holeyfield] was up and down all night. We’ll work on his decision-making throughout the year,” Batty said.

Even though it is Holeyfield’s junior season, it’s his first year as the starting quarterback for the Scorpions, so there is plenty of room for improvement.

There were also a few players ineligible for the first half, which certainly didn’t help the cause.

Junior Aaron Segura and senior Jordan Burke were among those suspended for the first half.

“Guys have to be accountable for their actions,” Batty said.

No further information was given as it was an in-house matter.

Next up, the Scorpions will hop on the bus and travel to Snowflake High on Friday, Aug. 31.

“This game gives us a chance to get better. Snowflake is a pretty solid team,” Batty said.

Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.


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

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