The Douglas Bulldogs snapped an eight game losing streak Friday night at Douglas High School beating their rivals, the Bisbee Pumas 31-14 in the 142nd meeting between the two schools.
An estimated crowd of close to 3,000 attended the game.
The rivalry game got off to an auspicious start as 20 flags were thrown by the referees on the two teams the first 13 minutes of the game. Eighteen of those flags were accepted by the two teams while the other two were waived off.
The penalties pretty much stymied both teams early on as the two rivals were scoreless at the end of the first quarter.
Just under two minutes into the second quarter Bulldog running back Grant Watkins scored the first of his three touchdowns this on a one-yard run. Blaze Rose’s extra point gave Douglas a 7-0 lead.
With 1:38 left in the half Bisbee sophomore Rey Chavez bulled his way into the end zone from mine yards out pulling the Pumas within one pending the extra point. Bisbee coach Chris Vertrees opted to go for the two point conversion which failed as the Dogs led 7-6 at the half.
In the third quarter Rose converted a fourth and 10 from the 27 into points hitting Watkins in the end zone for a score increasing the Bulldogs lead to 14-6.
Bisbee came back on its ensuing possession and scored and this time converted the conversion tying the game at 14-14 as Chavez again plowed his way into the end zone for the two point conversion.
Watkins gave the lead back to Douglas five seconds into the fourth scoring from 11-yards out.
The big play of the night came minutes later as the Pumas were marching towards what could have been a game tying score. All night long Bisbee had been snapping the ball to anyone of four players in the backfield. On this particular play the Puma center snapped the ball back as he had done all night long, only this time there was no one there. Nick Ortega seeing the ball on the turf scooped it up and ran unchallenged into the end zone increasing Douglas’ lead to 28-14.
Bisbee seemed shaken by the turnover and was never quite the same after that going five plays before turning the ball over on the next series and then having a pass intercepted on their final series.
Meanwhile Rose’s 29-yard field goal with 2:16 remaining gave the Bulldogs a 31-14 lead as Douglas player’s, coaches and fans celebrated not only the win over Bisbee but also their first win of the season.
Watkins was soaking it all in after the game as he held The Pick.
“I’m so happy,” he said. “After all we’ve been through this year this is great.’
Fellow senior Joe Alvarez echoed Watkins’ remarks.
“This was an amazing game,” he said. “We told ourselves coming into the game we hadf to get the win tonight, we can’t let these people down.”
A loss to Bisbee would have meant twice in three years and both at home for this senior class.
“We weren’t going to let that happen tonight,” Alvarez said. “Not here in our house.”
Friday’s game was also the last game for Abe Grijalva who will retire in May and has been a player, head coach and now an assistant coach at Douglas High School.
“Thirty years in the district and to have a win like this tonight is great,” he said. “We’ve had a lot of ups and downs but going away with a victory like this is one that I will always remember.”
Coach Vertrees told the Sierra Vista Herald after the game the Bulldogs didn’t win the game as much as Bisbee lost it.
Chavez had an unofficial nine carries for 45 yards and three catches for 56 yards for Bisbee while Watkins had six carries for 41 yards and three receptions for 39 yards. Rose ran 12 times for 35 yards and completed 6 of 18 passes for 52 yards.
The two teams combined for 29 penalties for 224 yards with Bisbee getting hit 18 times for 122 yards.
“We’ve had a tough season, but just to keep The Pick … cures a lot of wounds,” Ortega told the Herald after the win.
Douglas, 1-8, closes out the regular season next Friday at Cienega.
On Oct. 16 the Douglas freshman Bulldogs took on Bisbee's junior varsity team which, according to the Douglas coaches, consisted of their varsity team minus all of the seniors who are not eligible to play junior varsity.
The Bulldogs played them tough for one half trailing 14-6 at the half. In the second half the Pumas wore down the Bulldogs coming away with a 48-12 win.
Douglas scored on its first drive of the game taking a quick 6-0 lead. Bisbee then scored 14 straight points taking a 14-6 lead at the half.
The freshmen then scored the first points of the second half but missed the two point conversion that would have tied the game but instead left Douglas trailing 14-12.
From there Bisbee's size and experience took over. Helped by multiple offensive turnovers the game quickly spiraled out of control as Bisbee capitalized on every opportunity they had coming away with a convincing win.
The Bulldogs finished their season with a record of 3-3-1.