Apache Junction coach Bruce Binkley didn’t know how his team would respond late in the Oct. 9 game against Prescott.
The Prospectors, after a careless turnover, were trailing 20-15 when they got the ball back with two minutes left at Prescott’s 47-yard line.
Binkley looked up and down the sideline and was encouraged by what he didn’t see: Anger, stress or any sign that his young team couldn’t handle the situation.
Sure enough, the Prospectors moved down the field and scored with 22 seconds left to secure a 23-20 victory and improve their record to 1-1 heading into the 7 p.m. Oct. 16 Senior Night home game against Estrella Foothills.
“I was so proud of our kids,” Binkley said. “I thought they handled themselves great. They were very mature. Everybody had faith we were going to score and no one was yelling at each other. They handled themselves about as well as you can expect.”
Several players stood out on offense for Apache Junction. Sophomore quarterback Gavin Limongello completed 12 of 17 passes for 170 yards, with one interception, and had 14 carries for 45 yards. Two-way player Aydin Frank ran for 138 yards and a score, freshman Isaiah Savoie carried the ball nine times for 65 yards, and senior receiver Cameron Garcia caught five passes for 107 yards.
Senior linebacker Brody Bullard paced the defense with 10 ½ tackles and one forced fumble, and fellow linebacker Nathan Munoz finished with seven tackles.
The Prospectors set an aggressive tone early; Binkley called for a fake punt from their 30-yard line on the game’s first possession. The play picked up 17 yards, and Apache Junction drove down the field to score.
“I wanted to show the kids we were going to be aggressive and we weren’t messing around,” Binkley said.
Apache Junction made things hard on itself, losing three fumbles and throwing an interception.
“We had a lot of sloppy turnovers,” Binkley said.
But the defense held firm, giving up only seven points — not counting the Prescott possession that began at Apache Junction’s 10-yard line.
“I thought our defense was outstanding,” Binkley said.
Estrella Foothills is 1-1, having beaten Raymond S. Kellis before losing to Greenway last week. Binkley described the Wolves as “big and athletic” and singled out their quarterback, senior Ty Perry, who has thrown for 524 yards and three touchdowns in two games and has a team-high 149 yards rushing.
“I do think we can exploit their defense a little bit,” Binkley said.
For Senior Night, Apache Junction’s 14 seniors will be honored. They have been part of a resurrection, leading the program to 20 wins the last three seasons.
“I’m so excited for the seniors, I can’t stand it,” Binkley said.
Editor’s note: Scott Bordow is the director of communications and community engagement for Apache Junction Unified School District.