On a cold, chilly night, Homecoming Night held as little drama for Pusch Ridge as most of its games this season.
This time, the drama was over before it started, as the Lions captured their final game of the season by forfeit over Ray.
The Lions played the San Luis junior varsity, and prevailed 48-0. Pusch Ridge, now 8-1 on the season and winner of eight straight since its season-opening, 47-16 loss to Northwest Christian, plays host to Morenci in playoff action Friday.
When a team averages 47 points a game, while allowing about 12 per game, what possible adversity could the Lions have battled through?
"When we had the possibility of not playing (the playoffs), we were concerned," said coach Bob Vance. "We had the chance of (possibly) forfeiting the games."
A couple of weeks ago, Pusch Ridge was under investigation for some possible eligibility issues, which athletic director Lonnie Tvrdy helped to clear up. At the time, it appeared that the Lions might have to forfeit some of their wins. Then, the matter was cleared up and the wins were allowed to stand.
Quarterback Greg Schimke played just enough Friday to stay sharp for the playoffs. In building a 41-0 lead at halftime with a lot of junior varsity players participating, Schimke completed four of his six passes for 79 yards and three touchdowns.
Joe Abrams caught seven passes for 83 yards, and James Knutson had eight catches for 38 yards. Trever Cook caught touchdown passes of 19 and 50 yards from Schimke.
"I think we can make a deep run in the playoffs," Schimke said. "We've been setting up the run with our pass."
Despite sitting out the fourth quarter in most games, Schimke led Southern Arizona passers with 1,835 yards and 31 touchdowns. He also completed 63 percent of his passes. Tyler Vance was third in receiving yards in the area with 524. In a well-balanced passing attack, Lions Trever Cook finished seventh and Mitch Woody 11th in receiving yardage.
"We can play with anyone," Tyler Vance said. "The teams we'll play will be bigger and stronger than we're used to."
Winning eight out of nine games was certainly a team effort for Pusch Ridge.
"Every game, another player is the hero," Vance said. "Every week, we just support that player."
Coach Bob Vance pointed out that if the Lions win this week, they may get to host a second playoff game.
"We haven't had a lot of competition," Vance said. "We lost in the first round last year, and it shouldn't be hard to get the players to focus."