Balanced Superior Panthers remain undefeated

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Superior Panthers

  The Superior football team combined a balanced offensive attack and a stifling defense in a 60 – 0 victory last Friday night against visiting Phoenix Day School for the Deaf, improving the Panthers’ record to 5 – 0 as they head into to their bye week.

  Superior quarterback Steven Ybarra threw for four touchdowns and the Panthers rushed for four more. In all, eight different Panthers scored against the Roadrunners, including Gabe Otero, Ybarra, Adam Navarrette, and Julian Navarro, who each ran for a touchdown. Jared Moreno, Navarrette, Cedric Mendoza, and Jesus Castellanos each had a scoring reception in the win.

  “We want to have a balanced attack,” Superior head coach Ryan Palmer told the Superior Sun. “Being too one dimensional can get a team into trouble against tough opponents.

  “It is important to be able to execute well in both the rushing and passing game. We are fortunate enough to have the players who excel in both.”

  The Panthers’ defense was stout once again, posting its third shutout of the year. Junior Sammy Lopez intercepted his team-leading fourth pass of the season. Navarrette also had pick. Sophomore Marc Mendoza had four sacks and freshman Matthew Cruz added one.

  Mendoza, the younger brother of senior and 2017 1A East All-Region 1st Team selection Cedric Mendoza, his following in the footsteps of his older sibling, who finished with 14 sacks a year ago, which was second most in the state.

  “Marc now has bragging rights with more sacks than his All-State big brother,” Palmer quipped. “I am sure Cedric will have something to say about that over these next few weeks.

  “Sammy is a kid who works hard and has been rewarded for his hard work with four interceptions on the year,” Palmer added. “He has stepped up his game this season and his coverage gets better every week.”

  With three games left in the regular season, the bye week seemingly comes at an opportune time, but Palmer believes nothing changes for teams that want to be the best.

  “We have been improving every week and expect nothing different from the bye week,” he said “We understand that if we are not the hardest working team in the state, then some other team is. We want to be the hardest working team in the state, every day, even on our bye week.”

  Up next:  Superior will enjoy this week off before hosting Hayden in the regular-season home finale and Senior Night on Sept. 28. Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m.

Andy Luberda (1068 Posts)

Andrew Luberda began writing for Copper Area News Publishers (CANP) in February 2013 after working 15 years in Healthcare Financial Management. Andy covers sports for 11 high schools. His stories are published in Copper Basin News, San Manuel Miner and Superior Sun, in addition to the San Tan Valley Daily PRSS and CopperArea websites. Additionally, he has written human interest stories and business profiles. In May 2012, he earned an AAS in Sports Management at Central Arizona College before graduating with a BS in Communication from Arizona State University in 2014. He and his wife, Kelli, have three sons – AJ, Kyle, and Kade.


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