As far as “midterms” go, Jake Brown and Paradise Valley passed their toughest test so far.
Brown scored two touchdowns, including the eventual game-winner, as the fourth-ranked Trojans held on for a 21-16 victory Friday night at Cave Creek Cactus Shadows in a 4A-I Desert Sky Region game.
“The kids played a great game against a very tough team,” Paradise Valley coach Mark Evans said. “They pushed us to the limits, and we responded. This was a great midseason test for our kids to pass, and they did it.”
Brown scored on a 64-yard run on the third play of the game and the Trojans (4-0) upped their lead to 14-0 on a 22-yard run by Tyree Parker.
After Cactus Shadows (2-2) cut the deficit to 14-10 in the second half, Brown scored the eventual game-winner after hauling in a 60-yard touchdown pass from Kevin Spain.
“You can’t give up early points and expect to win football games,” Falcons coach Chad DeGrenier said. “There is no excuse for how we played in the first half. It was just very disappointing.”
Cactus Shadows made it interesting in the second half.
Bryce Redmond hit a 30-yard field goal and Anthony Stevens scored on an 8-yard run to bring the Falcons within four points. Danny Trittler also caught a late touchdown pass, but the Falcons were unable to recover the onside kick and Paradise Valley ran out the clock.
“We played wonderful football in the second half,” DeGrenier said. “However, that has been our problem all season. We can’t seem to be able to put together a solid four quarters. ... At this point in the season, there is no excuse for us to not play at the peak of our performance.”
Cactus Shadows got into the red zone twice in the first half, but came up empty each time – missing a field goal and turning the football over on downs.
“I think that was the significant difference in the game right there,” DeGrenier said. “Had we scored on those possessions, we would have simply won the football game.”