It was beginning to look like Chandler’s Seton Catholic was going to be the turn-around story of the high school football season, going from winless in region play in 2016 to vying for the region title this year.
But then Higley High stomped on that story line – and did it in a big way. Higley’s 50-0 rout of the Sentinels last Friday earned that Gilbert school not only the Desert Sky crown, but also home-field advantage for at least the first two rounds of the playoffs.
On paper, it looked like a good match-up. Higley was ranked No. 4 in the 4A conference and Seton was No. 6. Higley came into the game with a tailwind from six straight wins and Seton was on a seven-game win streak. Both were coming off dominant victories the week before.
But none of that meant anything once the first kick-off took flight in the season finale. It took Higley 41 second to score its first touchdown when junior quarterback Spencer Brasch tucked the ball under his arm and ran 37 yards into the end zone. Two minutes later, senior running back Draycen Hall blew through the Seton defense for a 67-yard TD run…and the rout was on.
By the time the game was ready to start the second quarter, Higley was up 43-0 and, as they say, the rest is history.
Brasch contributed four more touchdowns to the effort on Senior Night, the last four passing, and Hall accounted for three more. But the game was pretty much settled in the first half when the Knights racked up 301 yards of offense and held Seton to 37 yards.
Until Friday’s embarrassment, Seton fans must have been thinking about a return to better times, when the Sentinels regularly posted double-digit season records. That was when former head coach, Rex Bowser, was on the sidelines.
Bowser took over a Seton program in 2008 that had won just two games the year before and slowly built it into a program that was averaging 12 wins a season over his last four years before Gary Galante took over in 2015. Galante led the Sentinels to a 2-8 record his first year, but has been able to show progress each year, and this year they ran up eight wins and appeared on the verge of something big.
However, the way Higley manhandled his 2017 edition, it begs the question of just how valid the eight earlier wins were.
Galante and his band of over-achievers will get a chance on Friday to regain their swagger when the state playoffs begin. Seton was given a No. 6 seed and will face off in a home game against No. 11 Catalina Foothills from Tucson.
Higley is seeded No. 3 and meets No. 14 Buckeye Union at Higley.