By CASEY MUSE JR.
The Pima Community College football team lost a heartbreaker to Eastern Arizona Community College on Oct. 8.
The Aztecs were coming off of two straight bye weeks and looked fresh in the first half.
Freshman quarterback Justin Martin went to work early, finding sophomore wideout Jeff Cotton for a 66-yard touchdown.
Pima’s defense likely played its best first half of the season, forcing five punts and one turnover. The momentum allowed Martin to connect with Cotton once more in the first half for 47 yards and another touchdown.
Cotton finished the game with four catches for 134 yards as well as the two touchdowns.
An Aztec field goal ended the first half and Pima took a 17-0 lead into the break.
The second half was a different story, as Eastern Arizona completely changed the pace of the game. The Gila Monsters moved the ball consistently, with the defense stepping up to take away the long pass.
After 21 unanswered points, the Aztecs found themselves in trouble.
With one final attempt at a game-winning drive, Martin completed first down passes to sophomore Sirgeo Hoffman and Cotton, but took a sack on the final play as time expired.
The team was visibly frustrated afterward.
“It doesn’t matter if you’re a starter, second string, third string,” sophomore lineman Jordan Agasiva said to his teammates. “Everyone come out next week and do your job.”
That is exactly what the Aztecs need to do as they prepare for arguably their toughest task this season and head coach Jim Monaco knows it.
“Please allow us to realize that we have a short week and that we have to go up and play Snow,” Monaco told his players after the game.
“Please allow us to realize that we have a short week and that we have to go up and play Snow,” he said after the game.
The Aztecs seem to realize that they must maintain a short-term memory and prepare to go on a familiar road trip to face a team that was ranked No. 2 in the nation in the preseason. The game also serves as a rematch of last year’s WSFL Championship game, which Pima lost 26-16.
Despite the result, Pima’s debut Aztec Spirit Night was a success as the program saw one of its best turnouts for a game this season.
Students, parents and various other supporters attended to show school spirit and participate in extra activities and events. As promised there were jumping castles, food and an appearance by the U.S. Marines.
Pima football will continue to hold events on game nights to provide extra incentives to support the college and its teams.
Oct. 15: @ Snow College, Ephraim, Utah, 1 p.m.
Oct. 22: Arizona Western College, Kino North Stadium, 7 p.m.