Panthers ground the Eagles, 64 – 6

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Superior’s Adam Navarrette (#33) tries to avoid being tackled by two Anthem Prep defenders, Jake Hanson (#5) and Joel Palazzo (#28).

  The sixth-ranked Superior football team improved to 2 – 0 on the season after a lopsided 64 – 6 win against visiting Anthem Prep last Friday.

  The Panthers totaled 400 yards of offense, recorded 11 sacks on defense, and scored a touchdown on special teams – a 51-yard kickoff return by freshman Adam Navarrette.

They’ve got spirit! Superior’s Spirit Line includes, from left: back, Tatiana Babino, Stephanie Martinez, Sivanna Lopez, Ashley Lira, Cassandra Drennan, Maddaleine Price, Amber Alonzo; front, Amethyst Lowery, Elizabeth Valdez, Kayla Cardenas and Claudia Delgado.

  Despite an impressive performance by his team, Superior head coach Ryan Palmer sees room for improvement, especially if this team wants to compare favorably to some of the Panthers’ most recent teams.

  “We made a lot of mental mistakes,” Palmer told the Superior Sun following Friday’s victory. “Even with a seemingly dominant victory, there is needed improvement.

Superior’s Marcos Bueno (#1) easily avoids Anthem Prep defender Preston Blackledge (#4).

  “We need to focus on doing the little things better if we are to continue the standard of excellence established in recent years,” he added.

  Sophomore Daniel McConnell accounted for four sacks and junior Cedric Mendoza accounted for three more to the lead the Panthers’ sack parade. Steven Ybarra and Navarrette each had a team-high 10 tackles in the win.

  “Daniel McConnell and Cedric Mendoza are two key players on our team,” Palmer said. “They were both out last week with injuries, so it was nice to get them back. They are both tough kids who like to hit quarterbacks.”

Marcos Bueno (#1) carries the ball with Jesus Castellanos (#88) running interference. Anthem Prep’s Joel Palazzo (#28) tries to keep his team in the game.

  On offense, Ybarra threw for 184 yards on 8-of-12 passing with three touchdowns. He also ran for a score. Kale Major, Gabe Otero, Matthew Diaz-Gonzales, and Navarrette each added rushing touchdowns.

  Marcos Bueno and Cedric Mendoza (2) combined for three touchdown receptions.

  For the second-straight week Navarrette was dangerous as a kick returner, finishing with 97 yards versus the Eagles. He was also a threat in the other two phases of the game last Friday.

  “Adam Navarrette is a kid with a ton of potential,” Palmer said about his freshman phenom. “He is already making an impact in all three phases of the game.

  “He is the type of player who is going to give it his all every play,” Palmer added. “That relentless work ethic, never back down attitude, and his athletic talent give him a very high ceiling.”

Up next:  Superior hosts Duncan on Fri., Sept. 1. Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m.

Superior’s defense was on fire Friday night. Matthew Diaz-Gonzales (#5) is in position to take Anthem Prep’s Jacob Miller (#6) down.

Andy Luberda (940 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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