One week ago, Apache Junction linebacker Zach Langenbach had not one, but two potential “pick-six” passes go through his hands. The senior had a rare opportunity to atone the following week in the Prospectors’ 48-0 4A Black Canyon Region victory over El Mirage Dysart at Davis Field.
“Before the game, I was giving Zach a hard time and asked him what he was going to do if the ball came at him. He said, “Coach, I guarantee I’ll pick it off! And he did, he came though.”
At 6:09 of the first quarter, Langenbach intercepted an Alex Moreno pass at the Demon 35 and raced to the end zone with the Prospectors’ second touchdown. With 1:05 left in the first half, Langenbach snared another Moreno pass after it was tipped by Talon Izbicki at the AJHS 45, again running it in for a score.
“I was thinking about that, a little bit,” Langenbach said. “I wanted to make up for last week.
“On the first one, he underthrew him a little bit, so I kind of undercut the receiver, and the ball just landed in my hands,” he explained. “On the second one, Talon Izbicki tipped it up and I saw it shoot up in the air and I grabbed it. I got a great block that helped spring me.
“Talon did the exact same thing last week too.”
Langenbach’s pick-sixes were highlights in Apache Junction’s second straight shutout. Cody Arbogast had a team-high nine tackles, plus a sack. Michael Jada had eight tackles, and Ethan Wright added six total tackles.
The Prospector defense held Dysart to 152 yards of total offense.
“Our defense held tight again. They’re starting to come together,” Miller said. “I wouldn’t say they’ve arrived, but they’re in that docking bay right now, pulling in; they’re figuring it out, and they played stellar tonight.”
Things were going so well defensively that the Prospectors were able to hold Brody Bullard out of the lineup while he addresses a leg injury.
“We just knew it was OK to keep him out for a week. He’ll be back next week. It’s nothing serious, just a bruised calf,” Miller said.
Quarterback Gibson Limongello was 5 of 6 passing for 160 yards and four touchdowns, all in the first half. Cameron Garcia caught three passes for 105 yards and two scores. Chris Lohman gained 75 rushing yards on eight attempts.
Apache Junction (2-0 region, 5-2 overall) opened the scoring at 8:05 of the first quarter, when Gibson Limongello found Jordan Morris in the end zone with a 23-yard scoring pass.
“Gibson’s starting to get that timing down with Jordan, and where to place the ball where Jordan can jump and use his height and those big hands to get on top of corners,” Miller said. “That catch helped set the tone. Whether you’re scoring or not, just catching the ball early helps build confidence across the board with all of the receivers.”
Limongello’s second touchdown pass went to Cameron Garcia, a 36-yard toss with 54 seconds left in the opening period. An interception by Gio Martinez set up another scoring pass from Limongello to Garcia, for 43 yards at 5:37 of the second quarter.
“They weren’t giving us much of a pass rush, so our O-line was able to hold their own, which gave Gibson time,” Miller said. “That gave Gibby time to zip that ball through to Garcia with his great hands and speed. They really stretched the field well.”
“Cam is sneaky fast,” Miller said. “He doesn’t look like he’s going to run fast, then he breaks it open, and when he catches the ball, he’s hard to catch.”
Tommy Ryan snared a 30-yard TD pass from Limongello at 3:37 of the second quarter before Langenbach’s second defensive touchdown just over a minute before halftime. The Prospectors led 42-0 at the break.
Gavin Limongello was promoted from junior varsity and quarterbacked AJHS in the second half. He completed the Prospectors’ scoring with a 23-yard run in the third quarter.
Dysart running back Bobby Gardea gained 122 rushing yards on 21 carries, with most of those yards coming in the second half.
Apache Junction travels to Phoenix Cortez this Friday to play the Colts, winless in seven games.
Cortez lost to the Prospectors 63-0 a year ago. It hasn’t won a game since defeating Glendale Joy Christian 62-0 on Sept. 9, 2016, The Colts are trying to snap a 34-game losing streak.
“We should be OK with Cortez,” Miller said. “Then it’s on to Glendale and Combs, and that should decide the region.”
Apache Junction’s junior varsity traveled to El Mirage and handed the Demons a 35-7 setback on Oct. 10. Darwin Foy scored three touchdowns and a 2-point conversion.
“Our defense played pretty well,” Prospectors JV Coach Alex Murphy said. “They forced four turnovers with three picks and a fumble recovery for a touchdown.
“Offensively, we sputtered a little bit. We had a hard time getting a snap and we had to try a couple of different kids at center because we couldn’t dress our regular center. They were doing the best they could. We finally started figuring things out in the second half and started moving the ball. We’re proud of our kids.”