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Williams Field capped a successful stint as a 5A school with a second state title in a four-year span, blanking Campo Verde 19-0 in the championship game last December.

Ten months later, the Black Hawks made their debut as a 6A school against the same Campo Verde team, which stayed behind in 5A. The result ended up nearly the same, with Williams Field winning 18-8.

While the score was similar, Black Hawks coach Steve Campbell said the feel and tone were quite different.

“It was a very sloppy game,” he said.

Some of the sloppiness resulted from usual Week 1 jitters, and some from pandemic-related rustiness. Plenty of it also had to do with nine new starters on offense seeing their first action for Williams Field.

The Black Hawks ran just four plays in the first quarter, and they trailed 8-0 early and 8-3 at halftime.

“That first half was very frustrating,” Campbell said. “We knew it was not going to be pretty, but that second half, we corrected a lot of those mistakes.”

The Black Hawks also committed themselves to getting junior running back Kaden Cloud going after halftime. Cloud, who recently received an offer from Oregon State, ran the ball just three times in the first half but finished the night with 105 yards on 20 carries — including a go-ahead 1-yard touchdown run on Williams Field’s opening possession of the third quarter.

“A good running back gets better with more touches as a game goes along,” Campbell said. “The second half, we came out and gave him opportunities, and sure enough, he delivered.”

The Coyotes also have a pretty good back in senior Caden Calloway, who ran for 1,739 yards and 22 touchdowns last season but missed the title game with an ankle injury. He ran for 113 yards Friday before leaving in the fourth quarter with another ankle injury.

Williams Field makes its “true” 6A debut this week against Queen Creek to open Region 3 play. The Bulldogs pulled out a 35-28 win over Perry when Devin Brown hit tight end Colby Garvin in tight coverage with 3:53 to play.

“Queen Creek is one of the elite teams in 6A,” Campbell said. “So, we have to get better this week.”

— René Ferrán