Marcos de Niza HS put up the big stats in the first half, 213 yards of
offense and almost 15 minutes on offense, but it was the Chaparral
HS Firebirds that held the state 5A-II football championship trophy at the end of the game.
We expected the emotional factor would play heavily into the results
last night, since the Padres have been stopped at the semi-finals for
three of the past four years and finally had their chance at a state
title. Besides, they were coming off a huge win over nationally-ranked
But maybe they were too high coming into this
game. Marcos committed 16 penalties for 186 yards and coughed up the
ball on two turnovers – one of which was a fumbled snap by QB Zach Schira in his end zone, quickly recovered by Chaparral linebacker Chris Fox for
a touchdown. That was just the first score as the Firebirds began to
turn the momentum after being down 7-0, as the Firebirds went on t a
Senior running back Dwayne Garrett led the Firebird charge with 107 yards, but it was sophomore QB Connor Brewer
that controlled the outcome, going 6-for-9 for 147 yards and a score.
But it was his poise and composure under pressure that spelled the
difference; he had zero turnovers. On the other hand, Schira is a
senior and we had expected that factor to be the edge for Marcos, but
he finished the night completing less than a third of his passes for
just 66 yards.
We were looking for the upset Marcos win and, for
the first half of the game, it still seemed likely. But Chaparral
played the kind of game it takes to win a championship… and Marcos de
Niza regroups for still another try next year to bring home the
But the Padres don’t leave the 2009 season
empty-handed. They had a school-record 12-1 mark, ended Centennial’s
39-game win streak, and made it to the finals for the first time in 38
years. Not a bad year.