Story and Photo by Narciso Thomas Villarreal
The football team from New Mexico Prep Sports Academy was no match for the Pima Community College squad.
The Aztecs (2-1) started slow but ended up routing the Bandits 48-0 on Sept. 18 at Tucson Electric Park. Pima gained 250 total offensive yards with 88 passing yards and 162 rushing yards.
“We blew a lot of opportunities in the first half, fumbled a couple of times, had some bad mistakes,” Pima head coach Patrick Nugent said. “Putting up 48 points is something we need to do. It’s kind of a confidence builder. We got to know we can play football. We got a tough game next week.”
The Aztecs travel to No. 9 Glendale Community College on Sept. 25 to open Western States Football League play. Pima’s next home game is Oct. 2 against Scottsdale Community College.
Against New Mexico Prep, Pima scored a touchdown in each of the first two quarters and added 34 points in the second half while not allowing NMP to get on the scoreboard.
Aztec sophomore running back Andy Garcia scored three touchdowns as he rushed for 16 yards in five carries.
Freshman quarterback Zander McKean threw for 41 yards as he finished 10-12 and threw one touchdown pass. Sophomore receiver Scott Campbell gained 36 receiving yards while making four catches.
On the defensive end, Pima freshman cornerback Ronnie Burton intercepted a Bandits’ pass and returned the football 55 yards for a touchdown in the third quarter.
“That felt good,” Burton said. “I just felt good to give our team a little momentum, pick our team up because we were down a little bit.”
Special teams also contributed. After sophomore linebacker Justin Kitchen blocked a punt in the fourth quarter, sophomore safety Griffin Ronstadt recovered the football and went 21 yards for the touchdown.
“It felt pretty exciting,” Kitchen said about blocking the punt. “I told everyone I was going to block one.”
New Mexico Prep is a post-high school academy for New Mexico student athletes. One goal of the academy is to prepare students both athletically and academically for universities.
Bandits must attend Central New Mexico Community College, which is located in Albuquerque and take less than 12 credits.
Pima travels to No. 9 Glendale on Sept. 25 at 7 p.m. GCC defeated then No. 1 Arizona Western College on the road on Sept. 18 by a final score of 20-9.
Nine football players from the 2009 Glendale football team committed or signed to four-year college institutions, which are Adams State College, Emporia State University and the University of South Dakota.