A Gatorade shower and a breakout game from his new starting tailback later, first-year Brophy coach Scooter Molander had his first victory.
Running back Rahnee Dennard carried the ball 21 times for 170 yards and a touchdown to pace the No. 2 Broncos in a 30-7 victory over Desert Vista in a 5A Division I game Friday at Phoenix College. Junior running back Nick Natale added 42 yards on eight carries in relief of Dennard.
"Rahnee and Nick are two great backs and we're going to need them both throughout the season," Molander said.
Even with Dennard, a senior, making his first varsity backfield start, and Natale leading the way, Molander's first contest since taking over for the departed Jeff Kearin was a little too close for comfort early on.
The Broncos led the Thunder 10-7 at the half on a touchdown from Dennard and a 27-yard field goal by Conor Hearn, the team's junior quarterback.
"They gave us all we needed, obviously, in the first half," Molander said of Desert Vista coach Dan Hines' squad. "We took a look at some things at halftime and we got back to what we do well. We have a great quarterback, and we have some great running backs but sometimes you out-think yourself."
But it was all Broncos in the second half, as wideout Matt Smith scored on a 22-yard end-around in the third, followed by a pair of touchdowns — a 38-yard strike from Hearn to Allen Hunter and a 10-yard carry by Natale — in the fourth quarter to put the game out of reach.
"I love it," Dennard said of splitting time with Natale. "The teams will try to set up for me, but we put in Nick and he does a whole different thing."
Dennard, who ran for 79 yards in the first quarter, first touched the ball on the game's opening kickoff, dancing down the sideline 78 yards, only to see it called back on a holding call.
The two clubs combined for 205 yards on 24 penalties.
Thunder running backs Adrian Burks and Avory Battle combined for 108 yards on 21 carries in the loss.
Desert Vista hosts Phoenix Maryvale next Friday while Brophy heads to Chandler Thursday for a televised contest.