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MV outlasts Blue Ridge in slugfest

MV outlasts Blue Ridge in slugfest


The Monument Valley Mustangs let an early three-touchdown lead stick against one of Arizona’s most storied high school football programs.

The Mustangs outlasted Blue Ridge in slugfest, winning 54-43 last Friday night.

“They got a lot of history with their program, but anytime you can win a conference game that’s important,” longtime MV coach Bryan Begay said. “Heading into that game, they were No. 12 and we were 18, so our goal was to do the best job we could, and attack the game plan defensively and offensively.

“It was evenly matched and this game gave us a chance to showcase our talent,” he added. “We still have the possibility of making the state tournament.”

With Blue Ridge running a lot of traps, Begay said they wanted the visiting Yellow Jackets to pass the ball.

“Our goal was to stop the run, so we changed up our defense a little bit,” he said. “Offensively, we watched some film and we found some spots that we could attack.”

Prior to this year, Begay said he’s coached against Blue Ridge two other times during the Paul Moro coaching era. The Yellow Jackets have won 15 state titles with Moro coaching 13 of those championships.

“They have one of the historic programs in Arizona,” Begay said. “As for our history, this was our school’s first win over a former 3A East opponent of that caliber.

“I know we’ve beaten Winslow and Holbrook during that span,” he added, “but we had never beaten Blue Ridge before.”

In this high scoring affair, MV trailed once at 7-6 in the early going, but the Mustangs scored three straight TDs for a 26-7 cushion.

Two of those scores were off Blue Ridge miscues, as MV capitalized on a pair of key turnovers: an interception and fumble.

“What really helped was the early lead we had,” Begay said. “You know, there were some moments in the game to where we doubted ourselves, but we just reminded them to keep playing, keep playing hard and they fought through it.”

And although the Mustang did not relinquish the lead, Begay said the defining moments of the game happened on its last scoring drive.

His team faced a pair of fourth-and-long, and both times they converted. In the first instance, senior Roberto Flores caught a reception for a 27-yard gain.

In that same drive, senior QB Albrandon Byjoe threw a post route pass to Flores for a 22-yard TD score, extending a four-point lead into a 54-43 cushion.

“That seal the deal for us,” Begay said. “Blue Ridge had to throw the ball and we ended up getting an interception with TaShawn Miles.”

Byjoe finished the game by completing 20-of-28 passes for 270 yards and five TD passes. Byjoe added 126 yards on the ground on 16 carries and one rushing TD.

Flores was one Byjoe’s favorite targets going for 173 yards on eight receptions and four TDs. Senior Myles Yazzie caught two passes for 74 yards and one score.

The Mustangs evened its region record to 3-3 overall in 3A Northeast play. Earlier this season, a playoff pictured looked dismal for the Begay-coached team, having started the conference at 0-2 after losing to Window Rock and Page by a combined eight points.

“When we lost to Window Rock we just told them that we had to regroup, and after the lost to Page we were obviously disappointed as student-athletes and coaches,” Begay said. “We just had to start back from ground zero basically, and we just had to remind them of what our football philosophy was and why we play the football and do what we do.”

After getting refocused, Begay said they turned a corner when they traveled to Winslow on Sept. 23, earning a 21-20 win.

Since then, the Mustangs have gone 2-1, losing to Round Valley 34-21 during that stretch.

“We still have some goals that we can accomplish,” he said. “It’s a credit to the 22 seniors we have. We’ve had some great senior classes over the years and this is one of those classes that took it upon themselves to get ready for the season.”

MV will close out the regular season with Show Low in a region game on Friday and next week they will host Shiprock.

“We got to prepare for another tough team,” Begay said of Show Low. “The mentality of all those 3A East team is they want to be physical with you and they want to disrupt everything you do, and get you out of the game early.”

About The Author

Quentin Jodie

Quentin Jodie is the Sports Editor for the Navajo Times. He started working for the Navajo Times in February 2010 and was promoted to the Sports Editor position at the end of summer in 2012. Previously, he wrote for the Gallup Independent. Reach him at


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