Vandals reclaim Copper Kettle

David Sowders/Arizona Silver Belt ABOVE: Miami players hoist the Copper Kettle after Friday night’s win over Globe.

At a renovated Ragus Stadium Friday night, the Miami High School Vandals brought back the Copper Kettle with a 15-6 win over the Globe High School Tigers in Arizona’s second-longest football rivalry.

Receiving the opening kickoff, the Vandals moved downfield in a clock-consuming drive that included two fourth-down conversions on keepers by quarterback Abram Castaneda, who also recovered a Miami fumble. The third time was the charm for the Tigers, who stopped Castaneda for no gain on a fourth and five.

Globe took over on their own 7-yard line with 4:05 left in the first quarter – but their drive would end before the quarter, with a fumble recovered by the Vandals.

In the second quarter, Miami opened the scoring with a 12-yard touchdown run by Castaneda. The extra point try failed, leaving the Vandals with a 6-0 lead. Miami’s defense soon increased the lead to 8-0, sacking Globe quarterback Jaeger Franco in the end zone for a safety.

Though Castaneda broke loose for a 21-yard run on the next drive, the drive ended with a fourth-down sack by the Tigers. On Globe’s ensuing drive, the Tigers returned the favor by turning the ball over on downs. Taking over with 18 seconds left in the half, Miami reached the Tigers’ 10 but came up empty.

After the teams traded possessions in the third quarter, Globe cut into Miami’s lead with a 14-play drive in the third and early fourth quarters. On one play, Franco turned a near sack into a 3-yard gain. Trentin Goss capped the drive with a fourth-quarter touchdown run for an 8-6 score. The Tigers went for the two-point conversion, handing the ball to fullback Jesse Mata, but the Vandals stopped Mata short of the goal line.

The Vandals then answered with their own scoring drive. With about 3:30 left, Castaneda found Aiden Goss in the end zone for a 14-6 edge; the extra point made it 15-6.

After a short kickoff by the Vandals, Globe took possession on their own 40 with about 2:30 in the game. The Tigers’ final drive ended in an incomplete fourth-down pass by Franco; Miami took over to finish the game and reclaim the Copper Kettle after Globe’s victory last season.

“The kids worked all week, Monday through Friday,” said Miami head coach Brandon Powell. “They were focused on one goal and worked their butts off to achieve it.”

Castaneda rushed for 125 yards on 22 carries, and Miami running back Austin Rubin added 85 yards on 18 carries. No stats for Globe were available at press time.

With the win, the 1-3 Vandals are 1-0 in Section 2A Black, along with the Alchesay Falcons (3-1 overall) and Pima Roughriders (4-0) – and the Vandals will host Pima at Ragus Stadium this Friday, Sept. 22.

Globe is now 1-1 in Section 2A Black and 3-2 overall. The Tigers also have a home game Friday night, a section matchup with the 1-3 St. Johns Redskins, who are 0-1 in 2A Black.

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