Desert Mountain player suffers injury, Chaparral wins rivalry contest

Chaparral running back Darvon Hubbard (6) rushes into the end zone for one of his two scores during Chaparral’s 35-16 win over Desert Mountain. (Independent Newsmedia/Josh Martinez)

For the majority of the Friday, Aug. 24 rivalry game between Desert Mountain (2-0) and Chaparral (0-2) high schools — which Chaparral won 35-16 — both sides were rowdy and chippy,  but that all ceased late in the fourth quarter.

Wolves quarterback Kedon Slovis slung a pass to receiver Vince Ellison, who took a punishing hit from a defender. Ellison laid on the ground for more than 30 minutes as he was strapped to a stretcher and put in an ambulance en route to a local hospital.

Desert Mountain Head Coach David Sedmak said he thinks Ellison suffered a “pretty significant concussion” and the ambulance workers also took precautions for a neck injury.

Ellison’s injury noticeably changed the mood of the game. The Wolves were driving prior to the injury, trailing 28-16 with more than three minutes to play but sputtered.

Chaparral Head Coach Brent Barnes said his thoughts and prayers are with the Ellison family.

“There’s obviously a bigger picture than the game so it does change the mood a little bit,” he said after the game. “Hopefully, (Ellison) will recover and everybody can move forward.”

At the time of the injury, Desert Mountain was fighting an uphill battle. The Wolves had taken a 10-0 lead in the first quarter but Chaparral’s defense slowed Slovis, keeping Desert Mountain out of the end zone. The Wolves had two penalties negate touchdowns and failed to convert a fourth-and-goal from the one-and-a-half yard line.

The Firebirds scored 21 unanswered points to take a 21-10 lead late in the third.

Desert Mountain receiver Armand Reichelt (25) tries to fight off Chaparral’s Alex Monson (35) after making the reception during Chaparral’s 35-16 win over Desert Mountain. (Independent Newsmedia/Josh Martinez)

To his credit, Slovis shined throwing the ball, completing 30 of 49 attempts for 327 yards with one touchdown, a six-yard pass to Ellison late in the third to bring the deficit to 21-16, according to unofficial statistics.

“We knew they were going to bring a lot of pressure, we knew that,” Coach Sedmak said. “We’re disappointed we didn’t do a better job at picking it up at times.”

Coach Barnes said he his proud of his defense for stepping up, especially against Slovis’s onslaught.

“You can’t get worried about yards and completions and things like that,” Coach Barnes said. “You’ve got to keep fighting and dig in and find a way to keep them out of the end zone and for the most part all night, our guys did that.”

Offensively, the Firebirds shined in the running game. A week ago, they struggled in that area so seeing them thrive was heartening to Coach Barnes, he said. Three of the Firebirds’ five touchdowns were on runs.

Chaparral running back Darvon Hubbard blazed the way with 154 rushing yards and two touchdowns, per unofficial stats. His first came in the second quarter to put Chaparral on the board, trailing 10-7, and his second came as insurance at the end of the game on a 32-yard run.

While the rushing game thrived for Chaparral, the passing game struggled at times as quarterback Jack Miller connected on 13 of 28 attempts for 189 yards, two interceptions and two touchdowns. One of Miller’s touchdowns came on a 64-yard connection with receiver Tommy Christakos.

As a whole, Hubbard said he believes the offense struggled early in the game, which led to the early hole.

“I think we underestimated the other team’s defense at the beginning of the game when we were down 10-0,” he said. “We had a talk on the sidelines and we got our stuff together and balled out from there.”

This win marked Coach Barnes’s first at home and while he said it was nice, he’s focused on the next game.

“It’s always good to get first things out of the way and settle in and get into the rhythm,” he said. “Again, it was good, happy for our guys and we just have to take some steps forward.”

News Services Reporter Josh Martinez can be contacted at or at 623-445-2738

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