NAU Finale: Big first half leads Camelback past Flagstaff 53-20

September 3, 2022 by Brian M. Bergner Jr., AZPreps365

The Walkup Skydome on the campus of Northern Arizona University was home to three games Saturday, Sept. 3, 2022, in Flagstaff. In the nightcap, Camelback beat Flagstaff 53-20. (Brian M. Bergner Jr./AzPreps365)

FLAGSTAFF — Quarterback Max Martin had four touchdown passes, Jaylen Gillis scored four times and Camelback shook off the 7,000-foot challenge the pines naturally provide with a 53-20 win over Flagstaff at the Walkup Skydome on Saturday night.

Gillis caught three touchdown passes from Martin, and ran for another in the victory for the Spartans (1-0, 0-0 5A Metro), which were a win shy of not only a region title last season, but a state playoff berth.

Camelback lost 61-38 in the season finale to Apollo, which claimed the Metro championship and went on to the 5A state playoffs before being eliminated by Notre Dame Prep., 56-21.

On the campus of Northern Arizona University on Saturday night, the hometown club started things off with a bang as quarterback Brock Maier found wideout Tanner Reiff wide open downfield on a 70-yard strike on the first play from scrimmage to give the Eagles a 6-0 lead.

The Eagles' lead lasted only a few minutes as Martin found wide receiver Kemahn Knight on a 51-yard touchdown bomb, tying the game 6-6 with 9:52 left in the first quarter.

Amos Kanoyieh Slokan caught a 12-yard pass from Martin to put Camelback up 12-6, then recorded a 24-yard run on the Spartan’s next possession to make it 20-6.

Gillis’ 66-yard touchdown run with 3:28 to go in the first quarter gave Camelback a 26-6 lead.

Maier would find Emiliano Armijo on a 5-yard touchdown pass for Flagstaff (0-1, 0-0 4A Grand Canyon), which cut the score to 26-12 after one.

But Martin’s third touchdown pass came with 4:38 to play in the second quarter and his fourth was a 3-yard strike to Gillis with 26 seconds left before halftime, giving Camelback a 40-12 lead and they never looked back.

Maier had three touchdown passes and two interceptions in the loss for Flagstaff, which finished 4-6 overall a season ago, but interestingly enough, beat this very same Camelback team in Phoenix to open the 2021 campaign, 26-7.


Flagstaff travels to Winslow in Week 4 action Friday, Sept. 9. The Bulldogs (1-1, 0-0 3A Northeast) opened the season with a 20-16 win over Chinle, but lost to Holbrook 32-6 on Friday night.

Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.

Camelback heads home to face Desert Mountain (1-0, 0-0 5A Northeast Valley) next week. The Wolves opened with a 29-6 win over Cactus on Friday night. Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m.

Brian M. Bergner Jr. has covered professional, collegiate and high school sports for more than 20 years. Follow him on Twitter @AzPreps365Brian. Have a story idea? Email Brian at