Prep football roundup: NDP remains perfect after close win over Chaparral

NDP quarterback Kylan Weisser (11) scrambles as Chaparral defensive end Jaxon Richards (59) pressures during the Saints’ 28–23 win over the Firebirds Thursday, Sept. 28 (Independent Newsmedia/Josh Martinez)

Despite coming in undefeated, Notre Dame Preparatory never could shake Chaparral High School as the Firebirds pressured the Saints until the final whistle Thursday, Sept. 28.

In the end, the Saints (6–0, 1–0) escaped Chaparral High School with a 28–23 win over the Firebirds (3–3, 0–1) to kick-off Northeast Valley Region play but no matter how far ahead they got, Chaparral just kept coming back.

The Saints led the majority of the game, except for a stretch in the second quarter and the third. Chaparral had several opportunities to move ahead but was unable to take advantage.

NDP Head Coach George Prelock said although he is happy with the win, he is not satisfied completely with his team’s performance.

“We need to tighten up certain things and execute a little better,” he said after Thursday’s game. “Obviously anytime you can come into a hostile environment like this with an outstanding coached team with some great players, we’re just happy to come out with the victory.”

Some of those areas, Coach Prelock said, include execution of techniques and plays as well as penalties. The Saints committed several, including some personal fouls, during Thursday’s game.

NDP running back Cole Fisher (6) races past Chaparral linebacker Zien Tessler (54) during the Saints’ 28–23 win over the Firebirds Thursday, Sept. 28 (Independent Newsmedia/Josh Martinez)

Still, NDP’s running back duo of Jake Smith and Cole Fisher each posted a pair of touchdowns. For Chaparral, sophomore receiver Tommy Christakos reeled in a pair from sophomore quarterback Jack Miller.

The Saints moved out to a 9–0 midway through the second thanks to Smith’s 26-yard rushing score and kicker Sammy Pileggi’s 41-yard field goal. Pileggi missed the PAT after Smith’s run.

Chaparral responded with 10 unanswered points after Miller connected with Christakos from 12 yards out and Christakos booted a 41-yard field goal of his own in the second quarter.

In the early goings, the Notre Dame Prep defense got to Miller quite a bit but Chaparral Head Coach Thomas Lewis said as the game wore on, Miller settled down a bit and started to play his game more.

Coach Prelock said his team prepared for Miller and wanted to make him uncomfortable in the pocket.

“He was able to escape some of them and still made some outstanding throws,” he said. ” It’s a testament to how good he is.”

After the halftime break, the Firebirds had a chance to extend its lead with ball down to the Saints’ one-yard line but the NDP defense held.

NDP receiver Blake Storey (10) reels in a pass during the Saints’ 28–23 win over Chaparral Thursday, Sept. 28 (Independent Newsmedia/Josh Martinez)

A couple plays later, Fisher carried the ball 87 yards to give NDP back the lead at 15–10 after the two-point conversion attempt failed.

Smith followed up with his second touchdown of the night, this one on a 77-yard run to put the Saints up 22–10 in the fourth.

“It was obviously the offensive line but it was also me, (Fisher) and Vic (Annoreno) helping each other out,” Smith said after the game. “Without me blocking for Fish or Fish blocking for me, those runs wouldn’t be possible.”

Chaparral wasn’t done yet. Miller threw a deep pass to Christakos at the four-yard line and running back Josh Edwards finished it off with a four-yard touchdown catch. This pulled Chaparral’s deficit to 22–17.

However, quarterback Kylan Weisser tossed a screen pass to Fisher, who scurried his way to a 61-yard score with about two minutes left to play.

The Firebirds did get one more touchdown in the form of Miller finding Christakos on a 20-yard score with under a minute to play.

Coach Lewis said Chaparral had several chances to take control of the game, which was something the coaching staff told the team to expect..

“We said ‘hey, you’re only going to get so many opportunities so every single play, every single punt, every single pass play, you’ve got to execute and you’ve got to be full speed and sacrifice for your teammates,” he said after the game. “It just didn’t happen.”

Chaparral looks to rebound against Liberty High School Friday, Oct. 6 while NDP will continue region play by facing Paradise Valley High School on the same day.

“Getting your first region win is huge but it’s one play at a time, one game at a time,” Coach Prelock said. “Next game up, all our focus is going to be on that game.”

Chaparral running back Marqui Johnson (1) runs the ball against NDP linebacker Joey Jaquint (2) during the Saints’ 28–23 win over the Firebirds Thursday, Sept. 28 (Independent Newsmedia/Josh Martinez)

Around the horn

Coronado 54, Cortez 7: The Dons (1–5, 1–0 Black Canyon) picked up their first win of the season after opponents outscored them 243–19 through the first five weeks. Coronado took control early at home and led 40–0 at halftime over Cortez (0–6, 0–1). CHS next plays Washington High School (0–6, 0–1) in Phoenix Friday, Oct. 6.

Horizon 28, Mountain Ridge 0: The Huskies (5–1, 1–0 Desert Valley) upped their winning streak to four after four different players scored touchdowns on the road. Horizon’s defense held Mountain Ridge (2–4, 0–1) to 138 total yards of offense. HHS will travel to Sandra Day O’Connor High School (2–4, 0–1) Friday, Oct. 6.

Saguaro 42, Marcos de Niza 7: The Sabercats (5–2, 1–0 Skyline) continued their tear through Arizona opponents and have built a four-game winning streak. On the road, Saguaro quarterback Max Massingale connected with receiver Logan Pettijohn for two scores while running back Josiah Bradley rushed for a pair of his own against Marcos de Niza (3–3, 1–0 Desert Sky). Saguaro returns to region play with Thunderbird High School (3–3, 0–0) Friday, Oct. 6.

Paradise Valley 30, Arcadia 0: Opponents have outscored the Titans (0–7, 0–1 Northeast Valley) 332–17. Paradise Valley High School (3–4, 1–0) receiver Xavier Watkins reeled in two touchdown passes while Arcadia running back Paxton Earl tallied 159 rushing yards and receiver Josh Peterson pulled in 107 receiving yards in this road contest. Arcadia hosts North Canyon High School (2–4, 0–0) Friday, Oct. 6.

Pinnacle 77, Desert Mountain 29: By the time the game reached halftime, Desert Mountain (3–3, 0–1 Desert Valley) fell into a 49–9 hole on the road against Pinnacle High School (4–3, 1–0). PHS quarterback Spencer Rattler threw five touchdowns while DMHS receiver Josh Walker reeled in four touchdowns in the loss. Desert Mountain return to host Mountain Ridge (2–4, 0–1).

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

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