By Tom Zulewski
Iron County Today
BEAVER – The Canyon View Falcons saw a little bit of everything in the debut of new head football coach Chris Sawyers on Aug. 17. Even after a long lightning delay, a stout defense kept victory within sight.
In the end, Beaver quarterback Ryker Albrecht proved too much.
Albrecht scored on a 5-yard touchdown run with less than three minutes left, and the Beavers held on for a 21-14 victory over the Falcons at Alfred Marshall Stadium in a game that featured a delay of nearly 90 minutes for lightning and a brief downpour just after play resumed at the start of the second half.
“We made some big mistakes in big situations, but it ultimately comes down to learning how to play confidently in a big situation,” Sawyers said. “We had a pretty good game plan going in and moved the ball around quite a bit, but we just didn’t execute when it mattered.”
In total, the Falcon defense forced four turnovers, including a Brady Lowry interception that led to the game’s only score in the opening half. Lowry picked off an Albrecht pass and returned it 35 yards to the Beavers’ 36, and quarterback Colton Shumway finished off the short drive with a 3-yard touchdown run and a 6-0 lead with three minutes left in the opening quarter.
The Beavers, who have won two of the last three 2A state titles and reached the title game last year, were in business near the end of the half after a blocked punt gave them the ball at the Canyon View 27, but the Falcon defense recovered another Beaver fumble inside the 10 with under a minute left.
Then the lightning came, forcing the teams to retreat to the locker room three different times. When play resumed, Beaver wouldn’t take long to claim the lead for the first time as Hunter Carter returned the second-half kickoff 90 yards for a touchdown.
“We didn’t deal with the delay well enough by giving up that return,” Sawyers said. “They were a little more fired up than we were coming out. We had a breakdown in special teams, and it cost us.”
Carter did more damage to the Falcons by catching a 78-yard touchdown pass from Albrecht that pushed the Beaver lead to 14-6 with 9:45 left in the game, but another punting miscue by the Beavers gave CV more life and the ball inside the Beaver 15.
Shumway would score on a 5-yard run and find Lowry for the two-point conversion that tied the game at 14-14 with 6:56 remaining.
The Beavers were able to rebound with two long third-down conversions. After nearly fumbling the snap on the previous play, Albrecht would score what proved to be the winning touchdown with 2:42 to play.
Canyon View had two timeouts and drove to the Beaver 35-yard line, but Shumway was sacked on fourth down to seal the Beaver victory.
The Falcons will play their home opener Friday against Kingman Academy of Arizona, with kickoff set for 7 p.m.
BEAVER 21, CANYON VIEW 14
Canyon View 6 0 0 8 — 14
Beaver 0 0 7 14 — 21
CV – Shumway 3 run (kick blocked)
B – Carter 90 kickoff return (Bartlett kick)
B – Carter 78 pass from Albrecht (Bartlett kick)
CV – Shumway 5 run (Lowry pass from Shumway)
B – Albrecht 5 run (Bartlett kick)