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Campo Verde wins first 5A flag football state title | Sports - FlagSpin

Campo Verde wins first 5A flag football state title | Sports

Campo Verde girls’ flag football coach Brian Coger couldn’t help but drop to his knees as the final buzzer sounded Saturday afternoon at Mountain View High School.

It was a mixed bag of emotions that made him drop, coupled with a storybook ending to a long first-ever Arizona Interscholastic Association sanctioned flag football season. The theatrics of how the 5A state championship concluded helped, too.

The game came down to a blocked point-after touchdown by his daughter, Maddie Coger. It was an unconventional block, as it hit off the left side of her face leaving her with a bloody nose and blood-stained jersey. But it was blocked nonetheless and allowed the fourth-ranked Coyotes to make history as the first-ever 5A state champion with a 14-13 win over No. 3 Canyon View.

“I know we want to win at all costs but let’s get the hands up next time to protect the face,” Brian joked. “It’s special as a coach because these girls have been together for two or three years.”

The game was a defensive battle through and through. Canyon View’s offense moved it early on Campo Verde, but was never able to capitalize, turning the ball over on downs twice deep in Coyotes’ territory.

The Jaguar defense answered the call, however, allowing little in the way of yards for Campo Verde’s high-powered offense led by Maddie and quarterback Isabella Pap.

The duo has been one of the best tandems in the state all season, connecting for over 1,000 yards through the air. It took time Saturday for the two to connect like they have throughout the season. But they finally did in the form of a 60-yard touchdown pass in the second quarter to take a lead into the half.

“It’s not just me, it’s the blocking,” Maddie said. “They have to give our quarterback time, our quarterback has to make that throw. It’s just reading the defense.”

Pap and Maddie connected once more, another 60-yard touchdown. It came after Canyon View tied it up with a touchdown of its own after quarterback Katelyn Jewell connected with Angelina Harrell for a 28-yard touchdown.

Canyon View scored once more as Jewell found Nyjah Green for a 13-yard score late in the fourth quarter. That’s when Maddie’s blocked PAT took place, keeping the Coyotes’ lead intact.

The final drive came down to Campo Verde’s defense. They remained calm in a high-pressure situation, something they did well all day.

“To see them get this moment to shine, that’s what it’s all about,” Brian said.

Sophomore defensive ends Myla Robertson and Serena De Rosa were dominant throughout the game. Canyon View routinely left one blocker at the line of scrimmage, freeing up one of the Campo Verde rushers to go after Jewell.

At times, Jewell escaped and made a throw on the run. But 10-plus times she was sacked by the sophomore duo.

Seeing one blocker gave them confidence. They also knew based on film study they could be aggressive and attack Jewell to not allow her to get the ball off. Their game plan worked.

“We knew we would be able to get it,” Robertson said. “We knew she would come after one of us, but she couldn’t get to both of us.”

Canyon View beat Campo Verde by 35 points in the second week of the season. Brian, from that point on, said the Coyotes were on a revenge tour. He knew if they could secure the fourth seed, they would have a chance at seeing the Jaguars again.

They wanted the matchup. They wanted a chance to redeem themselves.

They got it and made the most of the opportunity.

“It feels so good,” De Rosa said. “We’re going to get better and we’re going to be ready to defend our title.”

Maddie and her teammates said it still doesn’t feel surreal they captured the state title. The team is filled with pioneers of the sport, girls who started playing at the club level and helped build the Campo Verde team from the ground up.

They felt they were underdogs. They felt overlooked. They went from a team others wrote off to the best in the state.

“For these girls, I know it’s a sigh of relief for them to be the first-ever champs,” Brian said. “It’s super special for them. They’ve been putting in so much work. I don’t think anybody put us in this position.”

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Travis Burnett

Travis Burnett

A pioneer in the flag football community, Travis helped co-found the Flag Football World Championship Tour, FlagSpin and USA Flag. Featuring 15+ years of content creation for the sport of flag football, creating and managing the largest flag football tournaments on the planet, coaching experience at the youth and adult level as well as an active player with National and World Championship level experience.

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