2023 High School Football

Mica Mountain dominant in shut-out win over Pueblo

Mica Mountain huddles after their 57-0 win over Pueblo (Lori Burkhart/AllSportsTucson.com)

Mica Mountain’s winning streak, dating back to last season, is now 11.

The Thunderbolts are 6-0 this season after a 57-0 win over Pueblo on Friday night at Santurnino “Curly” Santa Cruz Stadium.

The Pueblo Warriors (3-3, 0-1 in the 4A Kino), led by head coach Jake Allen, knew the game against Mica Mountain would be a tough one, but the team was confident they could get the home win.

Mistakes and a hard-charging Mica Mountain defense shook the Warriors’ confidence.

Thunderbolts head coach Pat Nugent had high praise for his defense.

“We’ve been so physical on the defensive side of the ball,” Nugent said. “They’ve been great. As an offensive coordinator and head coach, I’m very confident we are going to win a lot of games because of what the defense does.”

The 4A Kino matchup started with a solid showing by the Pueblo defense as it held Mica Mountain to a three-and-out on the Thunderbolts’ first possession.

At the 5:24 mark in the first quarter, Mica Mountain scored the first of eight touchdowns when junior quarterback Jayden Thoreson connected with junior running back Conner Hangarner, who ran the Thoreson pass into the left side of the end zone.

With 2:25 left in the first quarter, what appeared to be a touchdown by Kason Colbert was called back due to an inadvertent whistle.

Allen called a timeout right before the ball was snapped. The official was late locating his whistle. Once the whistle was located and blown, the Thunderbolts had snapped the ball and Colbert was running toward the end zone. After some discussion, the ball was placed at the original line of scrimmage.

A few plays later, Thoreson found senior wide receiver Jonah Garcia in the left corner of the end zone to put Mica Mountain up 14-0 with 2:10 left in the first quarter.

Thoreson’s touchdown pass to senior wide receiver Jack Bradley put the Thunderbirds up 21-0 at the end of the first quarter.

After big plays by senior wide receiver Devin Hayward and junior running back Jordan Perry, Thoreson found Garcia to add to the Thunderbolt lead.

Pueblo fumbled on their next possession, setting up a Colbert score.

With 1:33 left in the first half, Mica Mountain added another touchdown when Thoreson threw a perfect spiral to senior wide receiver Noah Dickerson.

Dickerson, playing both sides of the ball, snagged an interception in the second half.

At the half, the Thunderbolts led Pueblo 42-0.

Mica Mountain’s defense added a touchdown when Pueblo’s senior quarterback Anthony Skinner fumbled and linebacker Mikey Thoreson recovered, running the fumble in for the score.

Holding a 49-0 lead and Thoreson getting a breather, junior quarterback Caleb Cherry threw Mica Mountain’s eighth and final touchdown of the game to Perry.

After the game, Jayden Thoreson talked about the Thunderbolts’ offensive dominance: “Once we went five wide and no running backs, it just opened up the passing game. We were able to hit everyone. Four receivers scored a touchdown tonight.”

Kason Colbert on Mica Mountains offensive line: ” Our O-line is amazing. Every week, they bust their butts in practice and always do good and are locked in, make sure they get strong and are ready for the game.”

Allen about the Warriors preparation prior to Friday’s game against the Thunderbolts and how Mica Mountain switched up the offense on the Warriors: “We thought they were one of the best rushing teams in southern Arizona and the state. We harped all week on stopping the run and to their credit they came out in empty formations threw the ball with precision. I can’t think of any dropped passes they had. We did shut down their run and it didn’t matter. They came out with a great game plan. We hadn’t seen them throw the ball like that all year. Nugent and that whole staff, they are 6-0 for a reason.”

Next week, Mica Mountain heads to Canyon del Oro for what is arguably one of the biggest games in Southern Arizona high school football in the last seven years.

Mica Mountain and CDO are both 6-0, have senior-heavy rosters and are sitting at No. 2 (CDO) and No. 3 (Mica Mountain) in their conference.

Nugent on next week’s match up against CDO: “This is the match up we wanted for a long time. I think our kids took a little chip on their shoulder after we beat them by 20 last year and CDO got ranked No. 1. This is 11 games in a row with a group of kids we’ve been putting on the field. It’s going to be a great high school football game, two great teams and great coaching staffs. It’s going to be really exciting, it’s going to be a great Friday night in Tucson.”

Pueblo travels to Walden Grove (4-2, 1-0) to face a Red Wolf team on a four-game win streak.

Game Extras:

*Wood fire pizza at a high school football game? What? Yes, Pueblo has wood fire pizza for purchase at their games. The carne asada pizza is very good.

*Fireworks from the Mexican Baseball Fiesta at Kino Sports Complex could be seen in the distance from Curly Santa Cruz Stadium.

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