Pima College football coach Pat Nugent knew Arizona Western was good. He’s called them one of the nation’s top JC programs.
He and the Aztecs found out how good Saturday night in their season opener, which was delayed 90 minutes due to rain. Delaying the inevitable, right?
Well, sort of. Pima lost 40-7, but for a little while the Aztecs at least put up a good fight.
When the game finally started, Pima came out a little sluggish, and fell into a quick 14-0 hole.
“We had a little trouble picking up what they were doing,” Nugent said, “and the speed of their defense was too much.”
In the second quarter, the Pima coach inserted quarterback Jack Nykaza — a former UA walk-on — into the lineup for starter Tyler D’Amore (Ironwood Ridge) and things picked up a bit.
Nykaza led Pima on a drive down the field, capped by a 30-yard touchdown run from tailback Antony Thompson.
The Aztecs went into the half trailing just 14-7.
“A couple good plays on offense worked and once they got the fear factor out of them they kind of played a little bit better,” Nugent said. “It was good to see.”
But 14-7 would be as close as Pima would get the rest of the way.
To open the third quarter, Arizona Western scored on a 50-yard touchdown pass to go up 21-7, and then on the next drive Nykaza threw an interception, with two 15-yard penalties tacked onto the end.
Just like that, Western scored again and the Aztecs were down 27-7.
“The excitement of coming out in the first half and competing a little bit then coming back like that hurt us a little bit,” Nugent said. “We just never got back on it. We just couldn’t get the ball moving.”
• The Pima College volleyball team went 2-2 in its season-opening matches at the New Mexico Military Institute Classic in Roswell, N.M., on Friday and Saturday. The Aztecs won their final match of the tournament, defeating Odessa (Texas) College 3-1 (12-25, 27-25, 27-25, 25-17).
• The men’s soccer team had a nice opening weekend, winning its first two matches against Glendale Community College (4-3) and Chandler-Gilbert Community College (2-0).
Sophomore midfielder Anthony Alvarez (Sunnyside) led the Aztecs with two goals scored.
• The women’s soccer team split its first two matches, losing to Glendale 3-2 but bouncing back to beat Chandler-Gilbert 1-0.
Freshman forward Rachel Ridlinghafer (Ironwood Ridge) had a goal and assist in the two games.