No. 12 seeds pull off football playoff upsets in top divisions

<!-- AddThis Sharing Buttons above -->
                <div>
                    <a class="addthis_button" href="//addthis.com/bookmark.php?v=300" addthis:url='http://phxfan.com/2013/11/12-seeds-pull-football-playoff-upsets-top-divisions/' addthis:title='No. 12 seeds pull off football playoff upsets in top divisions'>
                        <img src="//cache.addthis.com/cachefly/static/btn/v2/lg-share-en.gif" width="125" height="16" alt="Bookmark and Share" style="border:0"/>
                    </a>
                </div>It was a couple of 12th-seeded teams that stole the show in the opening round of the high school football playoffs last night.  Both provided stories of overcoming obstacles – […]<!-- AddThis Sharing Buttons below -->
                <div>
                    <a class="addthis_button" href="//addthis.com/bookmark.php?v=300" addthis:url='http://phxfan.com/2013/11/12-seeds-pull-football-playoff-upsets-top-divisions/' addthis:title='No. 12 seeds pull off football playoff upsets in top divisions'>
                        <img src="//cache.addthis.com/cachefly/static/btn/v2/lg-share-en.gif" width="125" height="16" alt="Bookmark and Share" style="border:0"/>
                    </a>
                </div>

It was a couple of 12th-seeded teams that stole the show in the opening round of the high school football playoffs last night.  Both provided stories of overcoming obstacles – but not quite the same obstacles.

Brophy Prep showed what it was capable of doing with a full complement of players, following a brutal Division I schedule that was played through constant injuries against many of the state’s best teams.  Last night the Broncos pulled off a 28-14 upset of Westview High School, which came into the playoffs unbeaten after 10 regular-season games and ranked No. 5 in Division I.

The Broncos upended then-No. 3 Desert Mountain High School in the season opener, but then lost four straight to football powers Hamilton, Centennial, Red Mountain, and Desert Ridge as injuries began cropping up with regularity.  They recovered as the season wound down, winning their last two games, and three of the last five, to give them some momentum heading into the playoffs.

It was enough to build their confidence and hold Westview, which had been averaging almost 44 points a game, scoreless through the first half.  Brophy took its 7-0 lead at halftime and built it to 14-0 before the Knights could put points on the board just as the fourth quarter got underway.  And when Westview did begin its comeback effort following an Orlando Sabur touchdown on a 15-yard pass from senior QB Kordell Provchy, Brophy’s Ryan Velez put out the fire and gave the Broncos the insurance score they needed for the win.  The sophomore running back brought the capacity crowd at Westview to their feet and put the game out of reach with a 95-yard kickoff return.

The other upset that carried its own storyline was the stunning 40-16 rout of Sunnyslope High School, which, like Westview, was unbeaten coming into the playoffs.  Deer Valley High School pulled off the first-round victory in the Division II playoffs after being slapped with a post-season ban by the AIA back in September.  Plans for the playoffs were put on hold.

The Arizona Interscholastic Association had placed the entire Deer Valley sports program, including all boys and girls teams, on probation after the school’s principal, athletic director, and football coach allowed a couple of football players to take the field after transferring in from Centennial High – after being ruled ineligible.

By the first week in October, the AIA had relented and lifted the probation on all teams except football, and on Oct. 21 did the same for the football team, but placed the program under “advisement”, which is the lowest level of discipline it can administer.

Once that was resolved, they had to work through another issue that addressed whether the players had been illegally recruited to play at Deer Valley.

In the meantime, the football team was able to re-gain its focus and went on a three-game winning spree in which it closed out the regular season by out-scoring its opponents 153-20.  That earned the 7-3 Skyhawks a spot in the playoffs and an opening game with fifth-seeded Sunnyslope.

Deer Valley got behind 10-6, but Sunnyslope mistakes and poor special-teams play helped the Skyhawks get back into the lead and hold it.  A fumbled kick-off by the Vikings led to one Sunnyslope score, an interception that Logan Adcock carried 49 yards into the end zone accounted for another score, and then Chanel Roberts put an exclamation mark on the win by returning a Sunnyslope kick-off for 85 yards and another TD.

Devon Palomino, Deer Valley’s 6’4″ senior quarterback, directed a solid passing attack, completing 13 of his 19 attempts for 175 yards and a touchdown.

Deer Valley’s next challenge will be No. 4-seeded Centennial, while Brophy takes on No. 4 Desert Ridge, also a No. 4 seed.  Both quarterfinal games will be played Friday.