Brophy Prep vs. Hamilton High was considered the marquee match-up in Week 2 of the high school football season, while Centennial High School provided the upset in Division I.
But it was the game between the Paradise Valley Trojans and the North Canyon Rattlers that offered all the excitement and drama that fans come to expect from high school sports each week.
The two teams combined for 114 points – and the outcome wasn’t decided until the final play of the game.
In the featured event:
Brophy was coming off a stunning upset win over Desert Mountain High School last week, when a staunch Bronco defense was able to hold then-No. 7 Desert Mountain to a single score in a 13-6 win that earned them a No. 5 ranking among Division I schools going into Week 2.
But top-ranked Hamilton was just too big and too fast for Brophy as the two teams renewed a rivalry that has laid dormant since their last meeting in 2010, a game the Huskies won 27-0. This score didn’t change much this time, with Hamilton picking up the 26-9 win.
Sammy Sasso, Hamilton’s senior QB, passed for 226 yards on 11-for-19 completions and a touchdown, senior running back Tyrell Smith added 109 yards on the ground that included two scores, and Brandon Krcilek pulled in five passes for 167 yards.
The Huskies’ defense did their part, too, keeping pressure on Brophy quarterback Brian Woodward and erecting a wall on the defensive line. Qualen Cunningham, one of Arizona’s top college recruits, did considerable damage from his position on the end of the defensive line, recovering two fumbles – including one on the Hamilton four-yard line that saved a score.
The upset game:
And the game between Centennial and Chandler’s Basha High looked much the same, as Centennial dominated the Bears on offense and smothered them on defense for the 32-17 victory in Peoria.
The Coyotes rallied behind their back-up quarterback, Daniel Smith, to bounce back from last week’s 41-21 loss to Chandler High. Smith has stepped into the starting role after Jordan Suydam was injured in the Chandler game.
But it was junior running back Dedrick Young that provided the fuel that overpowered the Bears. Young carried the ball 16 times to pile up 225 yards and four touchdowns. And those weren’t short-yardage scampers around the end; three of the four scores came off runs of 50 yards and 36 yards (twice).
…and the shoot-out:
While that had to be fun to watch, it was the game between Paradise Valley and North Canyon that kept the fans jumping up from their seats for a better view of the fireworks on the field – and put them on the edge of their seats right down to the wire before PV claimed the 59-55 victory to push their record to 2-0.
Now, this is what a rivalry game should be about. And this one, like that between Hamilton and Brophy, was put on the shelf in recent years, going back to their last clash in 2006.
This one lived up to the expectations of the fans for a rivalry game suddenly revived.
It started with an interception in the end zone by North Canyon’s senior linebacker Onuche Okwoli on the second play from scrimmage – that was returned 100 yards for the first touchdown of the game. And, as the evening wore on, there was another interception returned for a score, a kick-off return that went for a TD, and a blocked punt that was also turned into a score.
There was so much going on down on the field that fans couldn’t turn away from the action long enough to get to the concession stand.
Daniel Bridge-Gadd threw for 406 yards for PV, completing 32-of-45 passes. And he’s a sophomore who was making just his second start – which helps account for his two interceptions.
It was Paradise Valley that got the lion’s share of plays on the night. In addition to Bridge-Gadd’s 45 pass attempts, the Trojans ran 41 rushing plays. Compare that to the 14 passes and 21 run attempts by the Rattlers.
A game like this wouldn’t be complete without a tension-filled ending – and the teams didn’t disappoint.
PV looked like it was going to put the game away in the final minutes when the Trojans, in possession of a four-point lead, drove down to the Rattlers’ one-yard line before being forced to give up the ball when North Canyon’s defense made a goal-line stand and took over for one last attempt to win it.
But the Trojan defense forced a turnover and ran out the clock.
This loss was especially difficult on the North Canyon fans and their new head coach, Cornelius Bowick. The week before, they took Millennium High School to triple overtime before losing their opener.
And this week they score 55 points – and still can’t get that first win.
Welcome to high school football. Gotta love it!