T-Birds jump to No.6 after big win against Phoenix

Christopher Jones
Mesa Legend

Photo Chris JonesMesa knocked off their second top ten ranked national opponent. Putting up the most points than it ever has during Coach Ryan Felker’s time as the head coach of Mesa Football scoring 58 points. The highest scoring game since 2008 against Pima. In a critical homecoming game that had Mesa fans excited from beginning to end. Giving them plenty cause for celebration well into the night after it was over with. A spectacular fireworks show right in the face of a dejected Phoenix football team followed after the game. With Mesa winning by a score of 58-13 against the #7 ranked Phoenix Bears. Don’t be fooled by the two team’s respective names because it was the bears who fell prey to a relentless Thunderbird team that was in cruise control on offense all night and a defense that constantly penetrated Phoenix’s line.  Really an all-around great performance. Leaving Mesa’s Defensive end #2 Rashun Parker saying that the team has “nowhere to go but up” after the game. Coach Felker said that “It was good for [Phoenix] to come out that first week and beat us. It was the best thing that could happen for our kids because now our kids have come together. They realize that they wouldn’t want to ever feel that way again.” Later adding that “Ratheen Ricedorff is the best quarterback in the country.”


Mesa quarterback Ratheen Ricedorff dropping back for a pass. Photos and Design by Tania Ritko
Mesa quarterback Ratheen Ricedorff dropping back for a pass.
Photos by Tania Ritko

Ratheen Ricedorff backed up his coach’s claims by throwing a total of six touchdowns for 447 tearing the Phoenix defense to shreds without a pick. While rushing for a total of 32 yards leading to a rush TD, All while Phoenix attempted to blitz with no success due to the stellar protection by the Offensive line. Other top performers of the night were Running back #8 Jocquez Kalili with 5 rushing attempts who capped off the game with a 66-yard rushing touchdown after making a spectacular catch that ricocheted on another Thunderbird player for a 15 yard TD just before the second half ended. As an honorable mention, even the big guys on the defensive line pitched in not only getting massive amounts of pressure on Phoenix getting seven sacks throughout the game, led by Aaron Blackwell with two. Mesa’s #31 DL Xavier Eley got a jump on the ball to get an interception late in the fourth quarter, A rare event for defensive linemen. Mesa defense allowed just thirteen points against Phoenix,


Quarterback Ratheen Ricedorff celebrating with other Mesa Football players during blowout victory against Phoenix.
Quarterback Ratheen Ricedorff celebrating with other Mesa Football players during blowout victory against Phoenix.

A breakout game for a defense that has flown under the radar even though coach Felker has said “This is the best line backing group I’ve had” allowing 86 points in the first half but just 39 in the second throughout the midpoint of the season.  From start to finish Mesa dominated. Offensively the game started with a 14-yard touchdown drive going 82 yards ending with a rushing touchdown by Ricedorff going seven yards. At the start on defense, Mesa shut Phoenix out in the first quarter, forcing multiple three and out drives. In the second quarter, Phoenix was able to reach the red zone inside the Mesa 20 yard line, but with minimal success as they were forced to kick a field goal on two of those occasions. The momentum solidified with stops such as these and a drive during the second quarter for Mesa starting on their own three-yard line.Mesa made the drive look too easy after a big rush from RB, Tyrek Cross, going 42 yards bringing them to about midfield, then two passes from Ricedorff one of which was the touchdown to wideout DeShawn Jones for a 19-yard touchdown pass to bring the score to 17-3.

Mesa’s DB #23 Elmando McCoy Jr. “We knew after halftime that all their energy and enthusiasm was gone, they’d basically given up.” As the first half concluded with the score of 31-6. It proved to be right with Phoenix falling victim to Connor Anderson, Jocqui Ellison adding to Ricedorff’s touchdown and RB Jocquez Kalili got some points on his own a 66-yard rushing touchdown as he raced passed the Phoenix defense for the final touchdown of the game. This was a conference game for Mesa, which brings their record to 5-1 overall. No. 6 Mesa will be on the road at Glendale next Saturday night, 7 p.m. kickoff.

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These are archived stories from Mesa Legend editions before Fall 2018. See article for corresponding author.

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