There aren’t really too many ways to write “interception.”
Intercepted, interception. Pick, picked off. There’s also the pick-six, of course.
That’s five ways.
But, on Saturday, Pima corralled nine of them.
As in they had nine interceptions — Yes, nine.
Head coach Pat Nugent has never seen anything like it.
“No, never,” Nugent said. “The defense played a great game. Nine interceptions is pretty crazy.”
By the time Eddie Releford had a 19-yard pick-six with 9:07 left in the game, Pima led 33-17, which would be the final score in its win over Glendale at Tucson High.
Said safety Mitch Fischer, an Ironwood Ridge product: “It got to the point where I went back out there and was thinking, ‘Who’s gonna get the next pick?’”
Fischer had two of his own — the first of the game, which he returned 25 yards, and an 82-yarder in the second quarter that went for a touchdown.
Kendall Huey had one too, as did Thomas Romack, Cedric Turner and Jordan Hughes. Mikell Everette had two.
Glendale’s quarterbacks, Travis Eman and Tre’Von Grant, threw the same number of completions as picks. They combined for 101 passing yards. Pima had 151 interception return yards.
“Obviously, any time you turn the ball over that much, it’s going to be tough to win a game,” Nugent said. “So, they really put themselves in a bad situation.”
Coming into the season, Nugent’s biggest concern was his inexperienced defense.
The Aztecs lead the nation with 17 interceptions, and in back-to-back wins, Pima’s defense has stepped up. At 3-3, the Aztecs are in the thick of the playoff race with a bye coming up this weekend.
“At this point in the season, you could see that we’ve jelled,” said Fischer, who has four interceptions on the year. “We feel more comfortable in the new system, especially the new guys, so we have a lot of confidence right now.
Added Nugent: “This week we knew we were going against a Glendale team that wasn’t very good offensively, and (Pima’s defense) just exploded. Confidence right now for the defense is as high as can be going into the off week.”
• After starting off the season with four straight wins, the women’s volleyball team lost two matches, falling to Central Arizona (3-0 on Wednesday) and Mesa CC (3-0 on Friday).
• The Women’s soccer team went in the other direction, breaking a two-game skid with two wins against Glendale CC and Chandler-Gilbert CC, outscoring them 8-1. Larissa Adams and Gisel Duarte each scored two goals during the week.
• Men’s soccer went 1-1, falling to Glendale 3-2 before beating Chandler-Gilbert 4-1. The Aztecs are 2-4 on the season.