Sparked by a standout performance from two-way player Rudy Rios, Amphi took down 4A Gila opponent Douglas 47-14, holding the Bulldogs scoreless in the second half on Friday night at Friedli Field.
Douglas held a 14-13 lead with four minutes remaining in the second quarter, but two late Amphi touchdowns — a 5-yard rushing touchdown from junior running back Malique Maro, and a 57-yard touchdown pass from sophomore quarterback Imanol Silvas to the senior slotback Rios seconds before halftime — gave the Panthers a 27-14 lead, and they never looked back in the second half.
Amphi (4-2, 2-0) head coach Jorge Mendivil was critical of the Panthers’ mental mistakes in the first half, including two facemask penalties that led to Douglas’ first touchdown, but praised how his team pulled away from Douglas (2-4, 1-1) late in the second quarter.
“I think we had 80 yards in penalties, maybe more,” he said. “Four personal fouls. I don’t know why we’re tackling high, but anytime you get your hand up there, they (facemask penalties) get called somehow or another… The second half was obviously way better than the first, but I think the last four minutes of the first half were the indicator.”
Mendevil was particularly impressed with the play of Rios, especially after dropping a couple of contested balls in a 41-0 loss against an undefeated CDO last week.
“He just does a great job. He runs great routes, and he blocks well as a receiver for us because we love to run the rock,” he said. “He’s just an all-around great guy.”
Rios — who had two touchdowns, 132 total yards, and an interception on Friday night —gives credit to the Amphi coaching staff for developing him as a leader for the Panthers this season.
“They definitely pushed me,” he said. “Definitely pushed me more than I wanted, but it showed with the results.”
According to Rios, he leads his teammates with his words and actions on the field when it’s most needed.
“I’m a loud leader when I need to be,” he said. “Whenever they need someone to have a spark to come back, I’ll try to become that.”
Maro agrees that the spark Rios refers to makes him the team leader he is.
“Rudy brings a lot of support,” he said. “He never gives up. I learned from him, like, don’t give up, even if we’re down, keep going. You saw the score. We didn’t give up. We kept going.”
Sights and Sounds
Amphi plays at Empire (2-4, 1-1) next Friday at 7 p.m. Tucson time.
FOLLOW @KEVINMURFEE ON TWITTER!
ALLSPORTSTUCSON.com writer 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 has a bachelor’s degree from the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at ASU.