KINGMAN — Several areas of the game went well for the Kingman Bulldogs Friday, but more important ones didn’t. Chino Valley pulled away from the Bulldogs in the second half for a 35-14 3A West Region win at KHS.
“Most of the kids played hard for four quarters,” said KHS coach Cam Wierson. “We averaged six yards per carry, so we kicked their butts as far as the game was concerned.”
Kingman (0-7, 0-2) trailed at halftime 14-8 after holding an 8-6 lead for more than five minutes in the second quarter. Quarterback Miguel Salinas found Damon Heidorf behind the defense in the end zone for a 19-yard touchdown pass with less than eight minutes to go in the second quarter. Salinas connected with James Carter for the two-point conversion, giving the Bulldogs their only lead.
Salinas passed for 94 yards on 11-for-23 passing. He threw the one TD and one interception. He rushed 103 yards on 17 carries and had a 30-yard punt return.
Carter was Salinas’ favorite target, catching seven passes for 69 yards.
Those five minutes that Kingman led were a blur. The Bulldogs’ Josh Proffit picked off a Chino Valley pass on its next possession and returned it 38 yards to give Kingman the ball on the Cougar 47. Four plays later, Salinas threw his interception at the Cougar 17.
After both teams went three-and-out, Chino’s Gavin Thompson broke free on a 68-yard touchdown run. The Cougars ran it in for a two-point conversion, and Chino (4-3, 1-1) retook the lead for good, 14-8.
The second half started like it was going to be Kingman’s night to end its 15-game losing streak. The Bulldogs kicked off, held Chino to another three-and-out and Salinas had his 30-yard punt return setting up Kingman at the Cougar 47.
Six plays later the Bulldogs had second-and-6 on the Cougar 9 when Salinas ran left, saw a hole and broke for the end zone. He was stripped and Chino recovered it in the end zone in what turned out to be the game-changing play of the night.
Kingman lost the turnover battle, 5-2.
“With five turnovers, statistically that team loses 95 percent of the time regardless of any other stat,” Wierson said. “We take care of the ball and we would have that game by 21.”
The Salinas turnover switched the momentum to the Cougars, who then went on a six-play, 80-yard scoring drive and moved ahead 22-8.