FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. – The Gold team was victorious over the Blue squad today, 65-47, in Northern Arizona Football's Spring Game. The game which was televised live on FOX Sports AZ and FCS Pacific saw fans pile in the Walkup Skydome to get a preview of what's to come this fall.
"I thought a lot of the returners looked really sharp today," said head coach Jerome Souers. "The first line looked fairly solid and we protected a lot. Defensively, we wanted to go out and execute. We were a little late on a few plays in the first half, before we settled in and started playing well. I'm more worried about the quality of play together rather than the scoreboard."
The offense was decked out in gold pants and white tops, while the defense had on all blue.
The Gold team took a 48-13 advantage into halftime after tallying four touchdowns and multiple additional points. Kendyl Taylor and Brandon Long both recorded one-yard touchdown runs in the first to aide in the Gold team's 27-2 first quarter lead. In the second quarter, the 1-2 punch of Case Cookus and Emmanuel Butler registered a 25-yard touchdown combo with 10:26 to go in the quarter. Five minutes later, Cole Norris found Jalen Marsalis for a 15-yard touchdown catch.
"We are getting adjusted to this system and we have a lot of starters coming back," said Taylor. When asked what the offense needed to work on between now and fall camp, Taylor simply said, "Everything. You're never done working."
Neal Murphy sparked the defense with a sack early on in the third quarter, holding the offense to three points, after previously scoring 48 through the first half. The Blue team was able to tack on 20 points in the third to trim Gold's lead to 51-33.
While the Gold team did not score a touchdown in the third quarter, they made up for it when Hunter Correll found Patrick Baldenegro for an 11-yard score with 11 minutes left in the game. The defense recovered a fumble, forced a three-and-out, and registered a pair of tackles for loss to close out the game strong.
Fans in attendance today were able to get their hands on the 2016 football poster and get it autographed after the game.
The Lumberjacks open the 2016 season on the road at Arizona State on Sept. 3. The two teams last met in 2012. NAU's first home game will be on Sept. 17 when it hosts New Mexico Highlands.
Team 1st 2nd 3rd 4th Final
Blue 2 11 20 14 47
Gold 27 21 3 14 65