Scottsdale Chaparral is back in the state finals thanks to a 42-14 win Friday night over Scottsdale Desert Mountain at Sandra Day O’Connor High School in Glendale.
Chaparral will take on Tempe Marcos de Niza on Saturday at 5 p.m. at Sun Devil Stadium for the 5A-II state championship.
“I can’t explain what I am feeling right now,” Chaparral running back Cole Tyree said. “I’ve never been this happy in my life.”
The Firebirds broke open a 14-14 tie with two scores in less than two minutes sandwiched around halftime.
First, Firebirds quarterback Connor Brewer found Danny Trittler on a fade route in the end zone for a 15-yard touchdown pass. That came with 21.2 seconds left in the half.
Chaparral got the ball to open the second half and scored on a 70-yard Dwayne Garrett touchdown run. That long run made it 28-14 with just 1:14 gone in the third quarter.
“We drew it up like that, Chaparral coach Charlie Ragle said. “We want to defer (the opening toss) to get the ball rolling in the second half and put them down in a predicament.”
Trittler added another 15-yard touchdown catch from Brewer with seven minutes left in the third quarter. His slant route found a hole in the Wolves’ zone coverage for a touchdown that made it 35-14.
Tyree closed out the scoring with an 18-yard touchdown run that saw him break three tackles before knifing his way through the Desert Mountain defense on his way to the end zone.
“We started off a little slow, but we played well as a whole,” Tyree said. “Our offensive line was outstanding tonight. They blocked so well.”
The Wolves were hampered by turnovers, as quarterback Drew Seaman threw three interceptions, all to Colby Targun.
“Targun played an outstanding game,” Tyree said. “He’s only a junior, and I cant wait to see what he grows in to.”
Desert Mountain (9-4) started out quickly by scoring on its first possession. Kevin Radcliffe scored on an 18-yard run to give the Wolves a 7-0 lead just over two minutes into the game. They held that lead until the opening play of the second quarter, when Firebirds running back Dwayne Garrett scored on a 10-yard touchdown run.
Garrett scored a second touchdown in the quarter when he a counter handoff and went 6 yards into the end zone, giving Chaparral a 14-7 lead. The Wolves came back with Drew Seaman’s 2-yard quarterback keeper to tie it at 14-all just before half time.
Chaparral will be trying to avoid a repeat of last year’s title game, when Scottsdale Saguaro beat the Firebirds 38-0 in the 4A-I final.
“Moving divisions, they told us it couldn’t be done,” Ragle said. “You don’t have to say anything — you quiet everybody with your play.”
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Desert Mountain marches down the field on the opening drive and Radcliffe caps it off with an 18-yard TD run that puts the Wolves ahead 7-0 with 9:47 left in the opening quarter.
On the first play of the second quarter, Dwayne Garrett plows through three tacklers for a 10-yard touchdown run to tie things up at 7-7.
Garrett takes a counter and runs 6 yards for a touchdown to make it1 4-7 Chaparral early in the second quarter.
Seaman caps off a Desert Mountain drive with a 2-yard touchdown run, knotting the score at 14-14 with 2:04 left in the half.
Trittier reels in a 15-yard fade pattern in the corner of the end zone to put Chaparral ahead 21-14 with just 21 seconds left in the half.
On the first drive of the second half, Garrett breaks free and goes 70 yards for a touchdown to extend Chaparral's lead to 28-14 with 10:46 left in the third quarter.
Trittier grabs a slant pass and takes it in for a 14-yard TD, making it 35-14 with 7:02 left in the third quarter.
Cole Tyree breaks a couple tackles, cuts across the grain and goes 19 yards for a touchdown to put Chaparral ahead 42-14 midway through the fourth quarter.
It's a final: Chaparral advances to the 5A-II state finals with a 42-14 win over Desert Mountain.