Paul Slobodzian
ASU Student Journalist

Williams Field rallies to dominate Mesquite

October 21, 2017 by Paul Slobodzian , Arizona State University

Williams Field’s seniors got their time to shine Friday night during the team’s 45-18 rout of Mesquite in a battle of Class 5A San Tan Region schools.

The Black Hawks’ quarterback, Zack Shepherd, completed 12 of 20 passes for 132 yards and two touchdowns. He was a perfect 6-for-6 passing in the second half, and seniors Kyle Kerrivan and Nick Cupp-Allen were each on the receiving end of a touchdown pass.

“I’m just glad we were able to come out on our home field (and compete),” Shepherd, a junior, said. “It may be the seniors’ last home game. I’m glad we were able to fight through the adversity at the beginning of the game and get the seniors this win.”

Mesquite (3-6, 1-2 in region) jumped out to a quick lead in the first quarter after an onside kick to open the game led to a subsequent 40-yard touchdown run by DeAndre Kelsey. The Wildcats led 12-0 before Williams Field scored 45 unanswered points.

“A couple of the calls, critical moments and situational stuff (were turning points in this game),” Mesquite coach Chad DeGreiner said. “They’re a good football team, so they got a couple calls to go their way. The kids fought hard, and I’m very proud of them.”

For the Black Hawks (7-2, 3-0), a fourth-down conversion in the second quarter with the team trailing by five points was the turning point for them.

“It felt like the right thing to do would’ve been a long field goal or go for the first down,” Williams Field coach Steve Campbell said. “We thought at that point we had stopped the momentum they had and it was time to gain momentum ourselves. Once we stopped the bleeding, it was kind of like ‘OK, let’s do what we do.’”

That drive ultimately led to a touchdown run by Jaden Carroll that gave Williams Field a two-point lead late in the second quarter, and the Black Hawks never looked back.

“In situations like that (fourth down), the only thing going through my mind is just to execute and pick my teammates up,” Shepherd said. “We keep it positive the whole time and execute the play we’ve probably practiced a million times.”

Williams Field kept its momentum going after Carroll’s run with Shepherd’s two passing touchdowns and rushing touchdowns from Jaden Thompson and Jordan Neal to blow the game open in the second half.  

“We’re evolving as an offense, for sure, and now we’re healthier than we were for a stretch there,” Campbell said. “We’ll keep on going with that.”

Mesquite and Williams Field have rivalry games on deck next Friday against the Campo Verde Coyotes and undefeated Queen Creek Bulldogs, respectively.

“We have to play better football against Queen Creek if we want to win,” Campbell said. “We’re going to have to be more disciplined and clean up some stuff.”

Preparation is going to be key for the Black Hawks heading into their matchup with the Bulldogs.

“It’s just going to be a lot of film,” Shepherd said. “Queen Creek is a really good team. Every year, it’s a dog fight in the trenches. We’re both downhill football teams. We’re both I-formation offenses. That game is a lot of preparation in the film room.”

Williams Field will take on Queen Creek on the road, and Mesquite will travel to Campo Verde with both games scheduled to begin at 7 p.m.