Tag Archives: Apollo

Apollo opens playoffs with home win

Rarely does a non-scoring play in the first half change a football game.

But Glendale Apollo got that one play in Friday’s Division II first-round home game against Phoenix Horizon.

Moments after scoring a game-tying touchdown in the final seconds of the half, Apollo’s Josh Turner put such a ferocious hit on Horizon’s kick returner, it caused his mouthpiece to fly 10 yards behind him.

Apollo celebrated as it ran into the locker room, and turned that excitement into a 24-20 win.

“That certainly helped our momentum,” Apollo coach Zack Threadgill said. “We’ve never covered a kick better than that.”

It may go down as the most talked-about kickoff coverage play in school history, but it didn’t totally diminish other big plays Apollo (10-1) made in order to advance to next week’s second round.

With the game tied at 7, Braxton Nickerson picked off a pass and returned it inside the Horizon 20. A Rodrigo Hernandez field goal gave Apollo a 10-7 lead.

After Horizon (8-3) missed a field goal attempt of its own on the ensuing possession, Apollo put the pressure on with a quick four-play, 80-yard drive.

Nico Bayless, who rushed for 100 yards and two touchdowns, scored his first one on a 19-yard run to put Apollo up 17-7.

Horizon hung around with an 11-play scoring drive that ate up almost five minutes. Charlie Quinn’s 1-yard plunge cut the score to 17-14 with a little more than 5 minutes left in the game.

But Bayless became a workhorse, carrying the ball 10 times on an 11-play scoring drive that ate up almost all of the remaining time, and gave Apollo a 24-14 lead.

Horizon scored on a 50-yard Hail Mary pass on the final play.

Apollo will now try to avenge last year’s playoff loss as it travels to Oro Valley Ironwood Ridge.

“We’ve got some kids who are experienced with the bus ride down there so hopefully it helps us,” Threadgill said.

high schools

Centennial completely in control vs. Apollo

by Jason Stone

If there was ever a question of whether Peoria Centennial has a complete team in 2012, it answered emphatically Friday night at Glendale Apollo.
Centennial showed why it’s the No.1 team in Division II with a dominating 70-20 win in a battle of top-10 unbeatens.
Centennial (4-0) scored touchdowns rushing, passing, on special teams and on defense and led 35-7 lead before attempting its first pass.
“We were just trying to keep up with the defense,” quarterback Tre’von Grant said. “The defense was scoring more than we (the offense) were.”
Nine players scored touchdowns for Centennial, and twice it scored touchdowns a minute apart. The first came in the first quarter, when it took a 21-7 lead despite having the ball only once offensively.
No.9 Apollo (3-1) never recovered from the early hole, despite having an offense that came in averaging 52 points a game.
Centennial’s Kyle Mack picked off a Jordan Gungl pass and returned it 45 yards for a touchdown, giving Centennial a 14-0 lead midway through the first quarter.
Apollo showed life with a nine-play scoring drive to cut the deficit in half, but Centennial grabbed momentum back immediately as Oche Meyers took the ensuing kickoff back 99 yards for a touchdown.
Apollo got within 22 points with a touchdown right before halftime, but Centennial dominated the second half despite emptying its bench.
Dominique Hodge scooped up a fumble and returned it 67 yards for a TD midway in the third quarter to turn the game into a rout.
A fumble recovery and blocked punt set up two more Centennial touchdowns.
“All phases of the game chipped in,” Centennial coach Richard Taylor said. “There is still work to be done, but the kids played great tonight.”

Published at azcentral.com • Sept. 14, 2012

high schools

Game Notes: Overflow crowd at Apollo

by Jason Stone

Glendale Apollo experienced something unique for the school Friday night: an overflow crowd. Of course, Peoria Centennial, the No.1 team in Division II, was the opponent. Some fans were forced to watch from the end zones and around the fence as anticipation was high for the battle of two Top 10 unbeaten teams.Those who didn’t get there in time missed an early scoring explosion. Centennial had 21 points after having the ball on offense only once. It also scored a touchdown on defense and special teams. Combined the teams had 62 points at halftime.

Published at azcentral.com • Sept. 14, 2012

high schools

Nico Bayless’ 4 TDs lead Apollo past Peoria

by Jason Stone

Sometimes defenses click faster than offenses early in the season. That wasn’t the case Friday night at Glendale Apollo.
Nico Bayless scored four touchdowns in his first start at running back, and quarterback Jordan Gungl tossed three scores in his first start to lead Apollo to a 57-40 opening-week win over Peoria in a non-division game.
Peoria was playing its first game since 1985 without coach Doug Clapp, who resigned in the off-season, and the team also did not have its best defensive player. Linebacker John Fultz injured his foot lifting weights and said he likely will miss next week’s game, too.
Peoria certainly could have used all the help it could get against Apollo, which racked up 504 yards of offense and scored nearly every time it had the ball.
Running behind a talented offensive line, Bayless was a workhorse, gaining 177 yards on 21 carries.
“The offensive line was opening up holes all over the place,” Bayless said.
Apollo scored six first-half touchdowns and never punted in the game. Gungl tossed three touchdowns in the first half as Apollo led 27-7 in the first quarter.
Peoria got only as close as 13 in the second half.
“We’re very happy about the points we scored, but we’re not happy about the points we gave up,” Apollo coach Zach Threadgill said.
Peoria quarterback Dillon Gragnano kept the game from being a blowout by completing all 11 of his passes in the first half, including two for touchdowns. And running back Ira Rojas scored four touchdowns.
The high score of the game was foreshadowed by its beginning when the teams pulled off back-to-back kickoff returns for touchdowns.
Apollo’s Joseph Cortez started the season with a 92-yard scoring return before Rojas took one back 99 yards.

Published at azcentral.com • Aug. 25, 2012
Published at USAToday.com • Aug. 25, 2012

high schools

Ironwood frosh leads list of state track winners

by Jason Stone

Some runners call track’s 800 meters the hardest race to complete. It is not a sprint, nor is it a distance run, making it tricky for some.
That does not apply to Ironwood freshman Leah Ybarra.
In only a handful of races, Ybarra went from randomly trying the event to state champion.
Ybarra won the 800-meter dash at the 5A state track and field championship at Arizona State University last week after picking up the event midway through the season “to help the team score some points.”
Normally a 100-meter sprinter, Ybarra has never lost an 800 race.
“I’m still really surprised,” the 15-year-old Ybarra said.
Ybarra held off city-foe Shelley Splittberger of Deer Valley in the 800, winning with a time of two minutes, 14.56 seconds, just .15 of a second ahead of Splittberger.
Ybarra wasn’t the only local state champion in the 800.
Mountain Ridge’s Reese Byerrum won his second consecutive boys 800 title by turning in a time of 1:52.09. He outpaced Deer Valley’s Chris Tabanico, who finished third at 1:56.00.
Ybarra and Byerrum helped their teams finish the highest among local schools.4c50a16f6c0e7.image
Ironwood’s girls finished with 36 points to take fifth as a team, behind South Mountain, Desert Vista, Flowing Wells and (Mesa) Mountain View.
Mountain Ridge’s boys finished in a tie for 12th.
Ironwood and Deer Valley’s boys teams nearly collected some state champions.
Ironwood’s Paul Gill took second in the high jump and actually tied the mark for highest jump at 6 feet, 10 inches. Teammate Skylar Hagg finished third in the long jump with a leap of 21-10.
In addition to Tabanico’s third-place finish in the 800, Deer Valley received a third place from Jason Thier in the discus.
Among local 5A girls, Ironwood was bolstered by points in six events beside Ybarra’s win.
The 4×100 relay team took third, while the 4×400 team finished fourth. Sarah Reeves picked up points in the triple jump (fifth) and long jump (sixth), while Kelsey Klein was sixth in the high jump and Valerie Scott took sixth in the 100 hurdles.
The 4A races at Mesa Community College crowned Greg Lacey a two-time champion.
The junior at Glendale High School, defended his state championship in the long jump and added the triple jump title to his resume.
Lacey leaped 22-6½ in the long jump and 44-8 in the triple jump to help Glendale finish 11th as a team, the highest of all local 4A boys teams.
Lacey’s brother, Craig, also picked up points with a fourth-place finish in the shot put.
Cactus and Apollo picked up points without winning any events.
The Cobras got a sixth-place finish from Josh Butler in the 800, while their 4×800 relay team took sixth.
Apollo’s Prince Amukamara (fourth in the 100) and Monti Washington (eighth in the high jump) scored the Hawks’ points.
In the 4A girls race, Cactus’ Jessica McDonald followed up a triple championship in last week’s Wells Fargo Region meet with a state title in the 400 to help the Cobras take second as a team.
McDonald turned in a time of 55.26 seconds in the 400 to win by half a second over Lake Havasu’s Meaghan Ryan.
McDonald also took third in the 100 and 200.
The Cobras were also helped by a second-place showing from Katherine Allen in the high jump. Allen leaped 5-4 to lose to Agua Fria’s Linda Ubah by two inches.
The Cobras’ 4×400 relay team also took second, while Cactus’ 4×100 relay squad ended up seventh.
Sophia Guerrero was fourth in the shot put to round out Cactus’ scoring.
Apollo, Glendale and Independence each had one state girls placer.
Precious Amukamara was sixth in the 200, while Dominque Mayberry was third in the 300 hurdles for Independence and Fantina Santiago was eighth in the discus for Glendale.

Published at glendalestar.com • May 22, 2005