In the first quarter of Friday’s high school football opener between Apache Junction and Phoenix North Canyon, the Prospectors torched the Rattler secondary three times with the same play.
AJ quarterback Gibson Limongello and wide receiver Cameron Garcia combined for touchdown scoring pass plays of 50, 48 and 54 yards, sparking the Prospectors to a 41-21 non-region contest at Davis Field.
Limongello completed 14 of 18 passes for 299 yards, five touchdowns, and threw two interceptions. Garcia snared four passes for 157 yards and three scores. The senior quarterback also ran 12 times for 72 yards.
Linebacker Brody Bullard led the Prospectors’ defense with four solo tackles while assisting on 11 more. Cody Arbogast had two solo tackles and five assists. Ethan Labrue was credited with one solo and seven assisted tackles. Arbogast and Bullard each recorded one sack for a combined minus-13 yards.
North Canyon (0-1) opened the scoring on its first possession when quarterback Amari Harris connected on a 64-yard pass to wide receiver Avonte Nelson with 8:37 left in the period. Eighteen seconds later, the Prospectors (1-0) responded on their first offensive play, as Limongello found Garcia on a 50-yard strike.
AJHS’s first score was set up by Chris Lohman’s 45-yard kickoff return.
The Prospectors went ahead to stay at 14-7 with 5:01 remaining in the opening period on Limongello’s 10-yard scoring pass to Lohman. Apache Junction extended its lead to 21-7 on a 48-yard pass from Limongello to Garcia.
The AJ duo of Limongello and Garcia connected for a third time with 2:08 to play in the second quarter, this time from 54 yards out, giving the Prospectors a 28-7 lead.
A 10-yard scoring pass from Harris to Marcon Keith pulled the Rattlers to within 28-14 in the final minute of the first half.
After a scoreless third quarter, the Prospectors took a 34-14 lead when Tommy Ryan hauled in a 3-yard TD pass from Limongello at 5:43 of the fourth quarter. North Canyon closed their deficit to 34-21 with 4:46 left on a 5-yard scoring run by Harris, but Limongello’s 21-yard touchdown run put AJHS back up by 20 with 2:34 to play.
Prospectors Head Coach Vance Miller was absent from the sidelines due to what Assistant Athletic Director Norm Hoefer termed as “a family situation,” adding that a timetable for Miller’s return has yet to be determined.
Next week, the Prospectors travel to Tempe to face the Buffaloes in a 4A non-region contest.