'Five headed dragon' leads 'Prep for 52-0 win over SFIS
By Nicole Baker
Special to the Times
FARMINGTON, N.M. , Oct. 3, 2013
(Times photo – Nicole Baker)
Picking up their fourth win of the season to move to 4-1 overall, Navajo Prep dominated Santa Fe Indian School in a 52-0 mercy rule shutout Friday night. In their four wins the Eagles have outscored their opponents 205-0.
With five talented senior receivers, the Eagles have shown a dominant air game with their "five headed dragon."
"Other teams can't target one player," said Eagles coach Rod DeNetso of his senior receiver corp. "They're physical, they're fast, and they're strong. It spreads the other team's defense. We'll be able to adjust and force the other team out of their comfort zone and expose their weaknesses."
Eagles quarterback Tyler Sorensen currently leads the entire state in passing having completed 87-of-126 passes to date to rack up 1,620 yards as well as 20 touchdowns and just four interceptions. Two of his receivers are also ranked high in the state with Mikaele Mauga ranked third overall with 26 receptions and 592 yards, while Yazzie is ranked fourth overall has 25 receptions for 540 yards.
But Friday night against Santa Fe Indian, the Eagles showcased a different facet of their offense -- their running game.
"It was a good accomplishment for us," said Sorensen. "Our running game really got going. The last couple of games we haven't been able to run much. Tonight we relied a lot on our running game."
Junior running back Izaac Eredia earned his paycheck carrying 15 times for 145 yards and three touchdowns.
"We usually pass more during our games," Eredia admitted. "Tonight my coach saw a good opportunity for me to run more. It felt good because I haven't really gotten any yardage this year because we've switched to more of a passing game ..."
Alexander Danzuka added an interception and 36-yard return for another touchdown with less than a minute remaining in the first quarter, as the Eagles led 22-0 after one.
The Eagles' air game was present as well as with Sorensen, who finished with just 211 yards on 9-of-12 passes, connected with Mauga for two touchdowns (75 yards and 55 yards) in the second quarter. Mauga finished with three receptions for 147 yards.
The Eagles might have ended the game at halftime, when Mauga hauled in his second interception of the game and returned it 85 yards for the touchdown just before halftime but a penalty on the play forced a call back, leaving the Eagles just shy, 46-0, of their fourth halftime mercy rule ending.
It took Navajo Prep 2:42 of the third quarter to make it back into the end zone to end the game by mercy rule when Sorensen found Isaiah Yazzie in the end zone.
Friday night was just the latest chapter in what is looking to become a phenomenal season.
DeNetso gave a lot of credit to both his coaching staff as well as the players for what the Eagles are accomplishing this season.
"I really appreciate all the hard work from the coaches and the players that are making this season such a success. We're really working to make the kids accountable."
Even in a 48-44 loss to defending 1A state champions Escalante the previous week, the Eagles shone in a blistering record setting offensive performance.
The Escalante coaching staff said after the game "we're lucky to get away with the win," DeNetso added.
Junior quarterback Tyler Sorensen completed 38-of-63 attempts for 630 yards during that game, which included five touchdowns and three interceptions. That shattered the record set by Hatch Valley's Brett Henson almost 10 years ago, when Henson tallied 546 yards against Menaul.
Sorensen's favorite target on that night was senior wide receiver Isaiah Yazzie. The senior hauled in 15 passes and gained 353 yards as well as three touchdowns, to take down the record set by Taos' Max Suazo Jr. of 14 receptions and 337 yards against Albuquerque Academy just over two years ago.
"This is my first season out here," said Yazzie, who is also part of the Eagles cross-country team. "I haven't played football since eighth grade.
"I'm starting to get more of the love of the game. I couldn't think more of my brothers (on the team). Like their blocking, because of them I stand out. Every chance I get (to catch the ball) I have to gain as many yards as I can and run the ball as hard as I can."
Added Yazzie of having set a record, "I didn't think much of it. I didn't know I'd broken it."
The average receiving yards for a game is about 100. Coaches told Yazzie he had 353.
For Sorensen, it was more about the game itself that night.
"We were just trying to come back into the game," he said. "I didn't know I had that many yards. I was just focusing on moving the ball down the field. The receivers were making the plays and getting the yards after the catches. That's where a lot of the yards came from."
The Eagles get to rest this week as they are taking advantage of a bye week and will prepare for the Shiprock Chieftains and homecoming next week.