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Saturday, February 6th  2016                         
Kevin Pakos - S&E News / ASPN Radio Special for the AzFL.

         Demons Steal One From Predators!

  A trip to Sahaurita by the Tempe Predators was a good way to open the 22nd season for the Arizona Football League team. Ruben Arvizu has been working hard for years to build a good solid program. 2016 looks like the perfect new start for he and his new Head Coach JR Warner. I have to say, I was impressed with JR's preparation. His guys were ready for the Tucson Demons.

They had to be. The Demons, in December had won the third All American Headquarters National Championship by beating the champs Las Cruces Kings NM from the two state, New Mexixo and Texas league, the RGFL or Rio Grande Football League. The Predators used the video that was put online recently in which interviewed the HC of the Demons Courtney Gambrell. Bulletin Board material at it's finest. See it HERE. It would inspire anyone to want to play them.

Coach Warner and the Predators were ready to knock off the champs and wanted to do it on their turf in Southern Arizona. Except for the score, they did.????? The Predators offense scored the first two of the game with a TD and a field goal. To take a first half 9-0 lead. The P-D made the Demons offense, well, useless. It did not help Tucson's cause when they opened the game with an ill advised onside kick that the Predators recovered at midfield. Both teams exchanged punts before the Predators scored.

After the Demons punted Tempe went on a 78 yard drive in which they picked up five first downs with the run and one on a pass. A very good drive led by LB turned QB Rich Diaz (Casa Grande Union HS, AZ). It was he that tossed the TD to WR Marcus Grove (Casa Grande Union HS) and he made an amazing catch between two Tucson defenders. Alas, the EP was blocked, or carried off by the Demons. End of Q1 Tempe 6 Tucson 0.

Not to be forgotten is the amazing job that the Tucson Desert Demons defense did. They had to carry the team in the absence of an offense. The guys pressed, forced turnovers and created havoc. Forcing errant throws by the Predators the entire game. The DC is Daniel Armenta.  

The second quarter was all Predators as Cody Barber (Coolidge HS, Glendale College) kicked a 37 yard field go to make it 9-0 Preds. They had a shot at another when the long snap went high and the Demons took over. Tucson then wasted it's opportunities and the half ended Tempe 9 Tucson 0.

Early in the third quarter the Demons switch QB's, in came Anthony Lambert (NM Highlands, now lives in Bisbee) he ran a reverse boot and found Sterling Schuler (Bisbee HS, Pima CC) for a 7 yard catch that he took 40 yards to the Preds 15 yard line. After that QB Lambert tossed a TD pass to his receiver Mikey Patrick (Tucson, Santa Rita HS) who had fallen to the turf. The pass hit his leg, rolled up his body and he pulled it in as the Preds looked on in shock. Tempe 9 Tucson 6.

That was pretty much it for the Demons offense. Tempe got their focus back on defense and kept Tucson from putting together any threats. The only other score in the game came as the third quarter expired. On that Demons TD Kevin Wilson (Santa Rita HS Tucson) scooped up the third long snap error of the day and went 37, long, very slow yards to put the Champs up for good.
Tucson 12 Tempe 9.

The Predators did lose another possesion on another long snap slip up. That and the clock kept them at bay. On the final possesion of the game for Tempe, the drive was ended by a Tucson INT by Dequaven Brooks (Santa Rita HS, Pima CC). After which the Demons kneeled on it to end the contest.

Tempe Predators QB Rich Diaz Tempe Predators quarterback Rich Diaz won the Offensive Player of the Game award touchdown pass in first quarter.
Tucson Desert Demons LB #33 Kevin Wilson Defensive MVP two fumble recoveries, one returned 37 yards for winning touchdown at the end of the third quarter Tucson Demons LB Kevin Wilson
Tucson Demons 1-0     Roster Photos  0 0 6 6 12
Tempe Predators 0-1   Roster Photos 6 3 0 0 9

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