SAHUARITA 33, EMPIRE 7

Mustangs overcome sluggish start

2012-09-08T00:00:00Z 2014-07-02T09:03:21Z Mustangs overcome sluggish startMichael J. Craven Special To The Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star

Sahuarita running back Chris Snodgrass lingered on the field after Friday's game at Empire. "Hey, you can't get 900 yards every game!" one fan reassured him.

"It was a rough night," Snodgrass said.

Now get this: Snodgrass rushed for 96 yards in a 33-7 Sahuarita victory. The Mustangs improved to 3-0 in their biggest challenge of the season thus far.

How ridiculous for Snodgrass to show such disappointment, right?

Well, not so fast. Sahuarita, which won its first two games by a combined 82 points, was held to 13 points on 29 yards of total offense in the first half Friday. And Snodgrass was held under 100 yards for the first time after rushing for 319 yards in the first two games.

"It was a little frustrating," he said. "Then again, we have to get used to not always being able to put up 35 points in the first half."

Empire certainly had Sahuarita's number in that first half, allowing just two field goals (of 47 and 29 yards) by Tanner Fanning and a 7-yard touchdown gallop by Elliott McKinney. All three possessions began inside Empire's 37-yard line.

Sahuarita went three-and-out three times in the first half.

"It wasn't so much what we didn't do; it was a lot of what they did," Mustangs coach David Rodriguez said of Empire's solid defense. "It was a matter of making adjustments to what we were trying to do."

Those adjustments showed in the second half. The Mustangs marched 35 yards before punting to end their first drive (that's more yardage than they gained in the entire first half) and scored on their 63-yard second drive - a push aided by a Snodgrass 39-yard burst.

Meanwhile, Empire - after scoring on its first drive of the third quarter (a 9-yard pass from Grayson Weeks to J.J. Gretta) - failed to get much going after that. Weeks was sacked six times and had trouble finding time to get decent throws away. He finished with just five completions for 43 yards.

"Grayson tried his butt off, but he was getting sacked just about every play," Empire coach Jorge Mendivil said.

Empire's leading rusher was junior Chance Hatfield, who had 63 yards on 14 carries before exiting with an injury.

The Ravens' star running back, Spencer Woody, was held out of the game with a pulled hamstring he sustained last week in a 20-point win over Pusch Ridge Christian.

Woody, who had 266 yards in the first two weeks of the season, paced the sidelines in a ball cap, helpless.

"It's killing me man," he said. "Watching this happen, it sucks."

Mendivil missed Woody, too. "Woody is in there, he breaks a few," Mendivil said.

The Ravens ran for just 116 yards after rushing for more than 400 yards in a three-point loss to Sahuarita last season.

Get more coverage of Friday's games and extra photos in our galleries at: azstarnet.com/gallery

Copyright 2014 Arizona Daily Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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