Playoff hopes remained alive for Chaparral High School after the Firebirds burned North Canyon High School 64–20 Friday, Oct. 20.
Chaparral moved to 5–4 on the season (2–1 region) after posting its second straight game with 50 or more points offensively. The Firebirds won’t catch Notre Dame Preparatory for the region’s automatic berth with one game remaining so the best they can hope for is an at-large bid.
They inched closer to that with Friday’s rout.
North Canyon (4–5 overall) fell to 1–2 in region play and are likely out of playoff contention.
Even with the lopsided Chaparral win, Head Coach Thomas Lewis said his team didn’t live up to its potential in the first half.
“I wasn’t really happy with the execution,” he said after the game. “Even though we scored points, it wasn’t executed to perfection the way I wanted to see it go and build on that momentum moving forward.”
During the first half, Chaparral did allow a few fourth-down conversions and an interception.
Despite some of these mishaps, the Chaparral defense was pretty solid through most of the game.
Safety Dane Breslo, who made an interception early in the second quarter, said the key to the Firebirds’ defense was their linebackers.
“Our linebackers are just beasts,” he said after the game. “They’re super aggressive. Zien and Braxen the Tessler brothers. They were getting in there on blitzes.”
The Rattlers opened the game with a 79-yard touchdown run from running back Alex Morgan.
The Firebirds countered with quarterback Jack Miller barreling his way to an 89-yard score to put Chaparral up 7–6 in the early minutes.
For the rest of the half, Miller would impose his will on the Rattlers as he added in three more passing touchdowns before halftime.
Even with falling behind early, Miller said he was never concerned about coming back.
“I knew stuff was going to click for us and we were going to be all good,” Miller said after the game.
Morgan’s run wasn’t the only North Canyon score. Quarterback Louis Contreras connected with receiver Solomon Ennis on a short touchdown pass midway through the second quarter. This brought North Canyon’s deficit to 17–12.
Chaparral then scored 21 unanswered points which included two Miller touchdown passes to running backs Deavon Crawford and Marqui Johnson. Crawford also returned a punt 45 yards for a touchdown during this stretch.
The second half featured Chaparral rushing in four more touchdowns. Johnson as well as running backs Josh Edwards and Darvon Hubbard scored those touchdowns with Hubbard scoring twice.
North Canyon did get in one more score as Contreras found receiver Cedric Byiringiro on a 27-yard pass early in the fourth quarter.
Rattlers Head Coach Airabin Justin said defensively, his team failed to execute and stayed on the field longer than he would’ve liked.
“We didn’t make any plays when we needed to make them,” he said after the game. “A lot of times we were there, we just didn’t make the play.”
On the flip side, Coach Lewis said he was much more happy with the way the team played in the second half after the coaching staff made a few adjustments.
“We came out in the second half and everything was just physical and executed to perfection the way I wanted to see it done,” he said.
With one more game left in the regular season, the Firebirds will continue their push to the playoffs with an away game against Arcadia High School. North Canyon will close out the season at home against Paradise Valley High School.
Around the horn:
Apache Junction 54, Coronado 0 — Apache Junction (5–4, 4–0 Black Canyon) showed why it is the top team in the region. The Prospectors scored early and often in their home win while Coronado (1–8, 1–3 Black Canyon) had no answer. This was the Dons’ fourth shutout of the year.
Boulder Creek 12, Horizon 10 — Horizon (7–2, 3–1 Desert Valley) saw its six-game winning streak come to an end as Boulder Creek (4–5, 3–1 Desert Valley) overcame a 10–0 halftime deficit. This was the Huskies lowest offensive point total of the season and their first home loss of the season.
Desert Mountain 30, Sandra Day O’Connor 27 — This game needed overtime to determine the victor as the two teams were knotted at 24 at the end of regulation. O’Connor (2–7, 0–4 Desert Valley) scored a field goal but Desert Mountain (5–4, 2–2 Desert Valley) responded with a touchdown to win it.
Notre Dame Prep 61, Arcadia 0 — NDP (9–0, 4–0 Northeast Valley) posted 28 points in the first quarter and never looked back. Arcadia (0–9, 0–3 Northeast Valley) suffered its fifth shutout of the season.
Saguaro 48, Shadow Mountain 0 — Saguaro (7–2, 3–0 Skyline) returned from its bye in dominant fashion against Shadow Mountain (2–7, 0–4 Skyline). Saguaro quarterback Max Massingale went 7-for-7 in passing for 202 yards and a touchdown while the Sabercats’ ground game produced five touchdowns.