The Tucson Sugar Skulls defeated the Northern Arizona Wranglers 72-62 to get back in the win column after losing three straight games.
Northern Arizona (3-2) got within three points of Tucson at 65-62 with 5:58 remaining in the fourth quarter after a 3-yard touchdown pass from Wranglers’ quarterback Kaleb Barker to wide receiver Quentin Randolph and a successful 2-point conversion on the ground from Randolph that followed.
“It’s a game of swings. It’s just like basketball; it’s a game of swings,” Neal said. “ When you get the momentum, it turns, and everything in this league happens real fast. They came back, and fought back, and chopped it back down, and then we just had to get back fired up. We kind of lost the momentum and we just had to get the crowd back on our side and fire it up on the offensive side.”
And fire it up, they did.
Tucson quarterback Daquan Neal connected with Carrington Thompson on a 41-yard reception to bring the Sugar Skulls to the Wranglers’ 6-yard line on the following possession. Running back Mike Jones scored a 6-yard rushing touchdown with 2:47 remaining in the game to stretch Tucson’s lead to 72-62.
The Sugar Skulls’ defense came up big on the next possession, forcing the Wranglers’ to attempt a field goal with 32 seconds left on the clock. Northern Arizona kicker Brandon Fischer missed the 33-yard kick, all but sealing the deal for Tucson.
“I just told them congratulations because a win is a win,” Tucson head coach Dixie Wooten said. “Wins are not easy in this league. So, no matter what the score was, I told them congratulations on the win, but we gotta get a lot better.”
The 72 points Tucson scored on Saturday are the most in franchise history. The 134 combined points in the game are a franchise record as well.
Neal completed seven of 11 pass attempts for 156 yards and four touchdowns. He rushed for 51 yards on 11 carries and had three touchdowns.
Thompson had three receptions for 102 yards with two touchdowns.
Jones rushed for 34 yards on 11 carries and had two touchdowns.
The official attendance on Saturday at Tucson Arena was 2,535.
The Sugar Skulls (2-3) play Saturday at Tucson Arena against the Duke City Gladiators (2-4). Kickoff is at 6:05 p.m.
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ALLSPORTSTUCSON.com writing intern Kevin Murphy was born and raised in Tucson, and has followed Arizona Wildcats athletics since childhood. Murphy is a journalist product manager with the Green Valley News & the Sahuarita Sun. He is currently attending the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at ASU where he is working towards a Bachelor’s degree in Mass Communication and Media Studies.