Drew Maggi looked around at his teammates scattered about. Mud caked on their uniforms concealing their pants, jersey numbers and cleats.
For Phoenix Brophy, it was a victorious night spent sliding and splashing which ultimately ended the season of the undefeated.
This football pigpen of sorts was self-induced, a result of dozens of teammates flying around what was left of Tempe McClintock High School’s field.
The Broncos (11-2) get the cushy confines of University of Phoenix Stadium next Saturday night against Phoenix Desert Vista. Brophy’s 24-14 toppling of No. 1 Chandler Hamilton (12-1) did more than avenge a loss to the title-favorite Huskies in late August. It also proved satisfying beyond simply being the last Arizona team to beat Hamilton (2005 state championship game).
When the slip-and-slide game commenced at midfield, Maggi’s night was complete. He was everywhere on defense to help the Broncos shut down Hamilton’s powerhouse offense. He caught three passes, including a 38-yarder to set up the game’s first touchdown. He threw an 11-yard pass to Sean Lieb on a fake punt to keep a fourth-quarter drive alive and dwindle the clock.
“He might be one of the best high school football players I’ve ever seen,” Brophy coach Scooter Molander said. “Pound for pound. He can do it all. Run, throw, kick, punt. He can do it all. You name it.”
On Friday night, however, following the biggest win of his varsity tenure, Maggi’s kryptonite was trying to explain what had transpired. “I can’t describe this,” he said with mud on his face. “I don’t know. It’s indescribable.”
The Broncos did the talking in this slopfest. Quarterback Bryan Berens was nearly flawless. Running back Ray Polk returned from missing the quarterfinals with a concussion and — playing cornerback again for the first time since that magical 2005 season — helped contain Hamilton wideout Gerell Robinson.
Save for two long touchdown runs by Nathan Jeffrey, Brophy’s front seven did the rest.
“Don’t let it bother you,” Maggi said of the elements. “Go out and play.”
Behind an offensive line that didn’t allow a sack, Berens had no trouble in the downpour and flooded field. He connected on 64 percent of his passes and found Sean Lieb for a second consecutive week with relative ease.
The Broncos committed one turnover and had only four penalties.
“It’s really simple,” Hamilton coach Steve Belles said. “They made the plays when they had to and we didn’t. They were the better team tonight and deserve to be playing in the state championship.”