Who says the first round of high school playoffs isn’t that exciting? That certainly wasn’t the case in football last week. In fact, the next round will have to go some to offer up more excitement.
A state record set, three more tied, and a game that was won on a two-point conversion in double-overtime. Not bad for one night’s entertainment.
There were the expected blow-outs that come from the seeding, which pits the highest seeds against the lowest in the first round. But a couple of those lopsided wins accounted for the state records being set or matched.
In the 62-0 romp over Gila Ridge High School from Yuma, Chaparral High School’s quarterback Connor Brewer threw for four touchdowns. That gave the highly-recruited senior a total of 94 during his career with the Firebirds, equaling the Arizona state record.
Meanwhile, another Scottsdale school, Saguaro High School, was the setting for still more record-setting football. And another easy opening-round victory.
The Sabercats coasted to an 81-48 victory over Sunrise Mountain High School from Peoria, which enabled their senior running back D.J. Foster to become the all-time leader in rushing yardage for a single game. Foster carried the ball 20 times to accumulate 508 yards, passing the old mark of 477 yards, set in 1985.
In addition to setting a new record, Foster tied two others. He racked up 10 touchdowns in the game, seven on the ground and three on receptions, to tie a state record set in 2004. And his total of 51 touchdowns for the season also equals another state record, which was set in 1997.
There weren’t any records set in the game between Chandler High and Westview High in their Division I opening-round game, but it had to be the most exciting ride of the night for the teams and fans alike.
A faked 44-yard field goal, with the kicker throwing the TD pass that tied the game, was followed by a two-point conversion that tied the game 20-20 to send it into the first overtime. The Westview kicker, Jacob Szostek, tossed a 27-yard pass to Chuks Amaechi in the end zone, and then running back Shayne Miller ran for the conversion.
In the first overtime, it went to 27-27. And in the second overtime, Westview took the lead when Miller scored again on a three-yard run. But Chandler brought it to 34-33 when QB Darell Garretson hit Patrick Baldenegro in the end zone. But the Wolves weren’t looking for a tie, and decided instead to go for the two-point conversion for the win, which Garretson accomplished by finding Williams on a game-ending pass completion.
The win gives Chandler a shot at the king of the mountain, Hamilton High School, tomorrow night. Hamilton, which hasn’t been beaten in the last 51 games, had an easy time with Valley Vista High School in Surprise, winning the opener, 37-7. The Huskies are going to be locked and loaded for their in-town rival in the quarterfinal match-up.
Earlier in the season, the two teams met and Hamilton squeezed out a 28-21 win. That has to make the No. 9-seeded Chandler feel like a win over No. 1 Hamilton isn’t that hard to imagine.
Of course, they won’t be the first team to contemplate being the one to break the Huskies’ streak. We’ll find out if dreams come true tomorrow night on Hamilton’s football field.