Pusch Ridge Lions gave best at season opening - The Explorer: Sports

Pusch Ridge Lions gave best at season opening

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Posted: Wednesday, August 29, 2012 4:00 am

It was apparent Friday night that it was the first week of the 2012 season as the Pusch Ridge Lions took on Joy Christian Eagles (Glendale).

Dropped passes, and botched execution, on both sides, not to mention inconsistent officiating marred the first 12 minutes.

But the Eagles fixed their problems with three touchdowns in the second quarter en route to a 38-0 win.

The Eagles, a serious state title contender in 2011, remembered how good they could be, while the Lions remembered that they were playing with their two starting receivers sidelined with collarbone injuries.

Last year, the Eagles were 10-1 and averaged more than 60 points a game.

Jerardo Samarripas of the Eagles made the biggest impact of any player on the field. Even though he only touched the ball three times, he accounted for 130 yards and two touchdowns. His 22-yard rush early in the second quarter led to an 11-yard rushing touchdown by quarterback Nick Henderson, which gave the Eagles a 6-0 lead.

Despite their injuries, the Lions passing game brought them down the field in the second quarter with a chance to make it 14-7.

Quarterback Jake Frithsen, in his second season as a starter, completed a couple of passes to get the Lions moving. Then, Frithsen found Ben Walker for a nine-yard completion and a 39-yard gain to take the ball down to the Eagles’ 20-yard line. But a sack destroyed the momentum, before Frithsen threw three incompletions.

Walker finished with three catches for 57 yards.

“We have a great quarterback,” Walker said. “He’s been going to NFL camps.”

However, the Lions had no solution for Samarripas. With the Pusch Ridge coaching staff beckoning for a deep drop back down the left side by their defensive backs, Samarripas caught a swing pass, found a hole in the secondary, and went 56 yards to pay dirt with less than a minute left in the first half. The touchdown by Samarripas gave the Eagles a 22-0 lead at halftime.

“We have to get back to fundamentals,” said first-year coach Troy Cropp. “Playing a team like Joy Christian in the first game will help.”

In the second half, Samarripas picked up where he left off, catching another swing pass and going 50 yards for a touchdown and a 30-0 lead for Joy Christian.

The Lions could’ve easily given up in the second half, but the defense continued to play hard.

After a first down completion put the Eagles inside the Lions 10-yard line, Kif Nichols came charging in and nailed a running back for a no gain. The Lions forced an incompletion, and held the Eagles to a four-yard completion, which would’ve forced a fourth down. Unfortunately, the Lions, already guilty of roughing the passer on the drive, were called for a personal foul, giving the Eagles a first-and-goal at the two. Henderson ran it in for the game’s final touchdown.

The Lions were flagged for 10 penalties, an area that will need to be improved in Friday’s home game against Empire.

Henderson finished with 12 completions on 18 passes for 178 yards and three touchdowns. He also ran for 36 yards and two touchdowns.

For the Lions, Frithsen passed for 100 yards. He was sacked five times.

“If the offensive line blocks for Frithsen we’ll be better,” Cropp said.

The Lions embark on a new season with a new program this year.

“It was great,” Walker said about the experience of playing a powerhouse like Joy Christian. “A new year with a new coach. We have a new lifting program.”

This was the season’s first week in several years the Lions actually played a game in the first week’s season. They have traditionally played a nine-game schedule.

“It’s the first time we’ve had a scrimmage,” Cropp said. “It’ll help.”

This Friday, August 31, the Lions will host Empire at 7p.m.

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HS Schedule

Tuesday, September 16

Boys Golf (@ 3 p.m.)

Buena, Cienega at Marana

Mountain View, Ironwood Ridge, Catalina at Amphi (Silverbell GC)

Catalina Foothills, Pueblo, Sahuarita at Sahuaro

Girls Volleyball (Fr 4 p.m., JV 5 p.m., Var 6 p.m. unless otherwise noted)

Mountain View at Rio Rico

Ironwood Ridge at Glendale Ironwood

Swimming (@4 p.m.)

Pusch Ridge, Sahuarita at Desert Christian

Wednesday, September 17

Girls Golf (@ 3 p.m.)

Rincon at CDO

Ironwood Ridge, Desert View at Flowing Wells (Silverbell)

Cross Country (@4:30)

Salpointe at Catalina Foothills

Palo Verde, Nogales at Marana

Rincon, St. Gregory at CDO

Sahuarita, Pueblo, Pusch Ridge at Desert View

Girls Volleyball (Fr 4 p.m., JV 5 p.m., Var 6 p.m. unless otherwise noted)

Empire at Marana (4:30, 5:30, 6:30)

CDO at Queen Creek

Cienega at Mountain View

Sahuaro at Catalina Foothills

Walden Grove at Pusch Ridge

Thursday, September 18

Girls Golf

CDO, Ironwood Ridge at Phoenix Aguila Invitational (all day)

Boys Golf

Sahuaro and Salpointe at Ironwood Ridge

CDO, Rincon, Sunnyside at Tucson High

Girls Volleyball (Fr 4 p.m., JV 5 p.m., Var 6 p.m. unless otherwise noted)

Marana at Sahuarita

Ironwood Ridge at Sahuaro (4:30, 5:30, 6:30)

Catalina Foothills at Rincon

Pusch Ridge at San Manuel

Swimming (4 p.m.)

Marana vs. Tucson at Quincy Douglas Pool

Cienega at Marana

CDO, Ironwood Ridge at Amphi

Catalina Foothills at Sahuaro

Freshman Football (all games at 6 p.m. unless otherwise noted)

Flowing Wells at Marana (4 p.m.)

Desert View at Mountain View

Cienega at CDO

Ironwood Ridge at Buena

Catalina Foothills at Sahuarita

JV Football (all games at 6 p.m. unless otherwise noted)

Amphi at Marana

Santa Cruz Valley at Pusch Ridge

Mountain View at Desert View

CDO at Cienega

Buena at Ironwood Ridge

Sahuarita at Catalina Foothills

Friday, September 19

Boys Golf

Catalina Foothills, Ironwood Ridge, CDO, at Phoenix Aguila Invitational (all day)

Cross Country

Mountain View, Ironwood Ridge at Mt. Carmel Invitational (San Diego, CA)

Girls Volleyball

CDO at Westwood Tournament of Champions

Football (@7 p.m.)

Pusch Ridge at Santa Cruz Valley

Catalina at Marana

Desert Vista at Mountain View

Ironwood Ridge at Buena

Cienega at CDO

Catalina Foothills at Sahuarita

Saturday, September 20

Boys Golf

Catalina Foothills, Ironwood Ridge, CDO, at Phoenix Aguila Invitational (all day)

Cross Country

Marana at Old Pueblo Invite(Lincoln Park)

Mountain View at San Diego

Catalina Foothills, CDO at Ojo Rojo (Chandler, AZ)


Marana at Wolves Classic (Chandler High)

Girls Volleyball

CDO at Westwood Tournament of Champions


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