Steelers win in season finale,<br>Bengals advance to playoffs
The Williams Steelers youth football team ended the season on a high note Saturday with a 26-16 victory over the Cottonwood Chiefs.
The Steelers never trailed in the game, scoring on their opening drive and never looking back.
"It was one of our better offensive performances," said Steelers coach Travis Grantham, adding that a few changes in the backfield seemed to help that unit click. "Our offensive line did an excellent job."
The Steelers displayed a power football attack on offense behind an exceptional performance by linemen. That unit includes Michael Murphy, Cornelius Russell, Matthew Vesser, Billy Aleshire, Ethan Durnez and Bobby Pruett.
Jonathan Montoya scored two touchdowns for the Steelers. Derek Gauna and Jesse Hunter also made it into the end zone. All four touchdowns came on running plays.
Grantham praised all of his players in the victory, which turned out to be the lone win of the season.
"Abel Valdez and Luis Martinez ran the ball well and played excellent defense for us along with Derek Gauna and Jonathan Montoya."
Casey Pentecost made a crucial play in the game when he recovered a fumble and then gained yardage on the return. The play set up a Steelers touchdown.
"This was their last game and ... they worked hard in practice and in the game," Grantham said. "They achieved what they set out to do."
The defensive unit came up with big plays when needed to keep Cottonwood's offense out of sync. Besides those players already mentioned, others contributing were Rafael Cardenas, Tanner James, Jonah Kurtz and Adam Valdez.
The Steelers played well with three key players not able to take the field. David Robinson, Nick Pettit and Alex Ruiz did not play due to various reasons.
Grantham was pleased to be able to give each player considerable time on the field this season.
"I went into this week with the understanding of what I wanted to achieve ... teaching the kids how to play football with good sportsmanship," said Grantham, who had five players out for the sport for the first time ever. "At this level, that's what it's all about."
Grantham and his coaching staff of Richard Durnez, Billy Pruett, John Calley and Waylon Vesser rotated players in and out of games. Grantham said "every single down, there was a new kid on the field."
Grantham said youth football turns out to be a frustrating experience for some players because of certain coaches who don't stress playing time for all kids.
"I think that's where youth football loses a lot of kids ... they get frustrated and get into high school and don't want to play any more," he said. "I feel that we did a good job on that with our coaching staff."
The Steelers record for the season ended up at 1-5-2.
Bengals win big,
headed to postseason
The Williams Bengals tuned up for the playoffs with a 26-0 victory over the Cottonwood Colts Saturday.
Keegan Axtell scored three touchdowns, twice on off-tackle runs and once on a sweep to the left on a thrilling play that saw him cut back across the grain to the end zone.
Jerry Garcia also scored a TD when he intercepted a pass and returned it 35 yards to the end zone.
Trevor Parenteau added a two-point conversion run.
"We had outstanding defense from just about the whole team," Bengals coach Todd Parenteau said about the shutout effort.
The Bengals (3-5) will play in Prescott Saturday against an opponent to be determined in the playoff's first round. Check with Bengals players for a kickoff time.