Two of the top ranked teams in Division V had another classic battle Saturday night.
Scottsdale Christian trailed Tempe Prep 12-0 early, but then outscored them 28-9 the rest of the way for a 28-21 victory at Arizona Lutheran Academy H.S. in a clash of teams who came into the game 3-1 on the season. The teams met twice last year in the regular season and playoffs and split. A rematch may loom again this year in the playoffs.
The Eagles went to 4-1 on the season as quarterback Luke O'Neill and Chaz Dudley sparkled. The duo connected on all four of the team's touchdowns. O'Neill clicked on 19 of 31 passes for a career-high 275 yards. Dudley caught TD passes of 19, 32, 11 and 27 yards and ended with seven receptions for 105 yards. Scottsdale Christian had only 24 total rushing yards.
"It was my career high in yards by far, but that doesn't matter, as long as we get the win. It is new but something I could get used to," O'Neill joked of SCA newfound passing game. "I had thrown three touchdowns in one game, but never four and never to the same guy. We work hard on perfecting the pass routes and is working even more now. The offseason being in condition really paid off tonight with coming back."
"He (O'Neill) throws a good ball and makes it easy, and this win is really something to build on," Chaz Dudley said.
With the score tied at 21-21, the Eagles' Christian Tyler picked off a Knights pass at their own 39-yard line. Then the tandem of O'Neill-to-Dudley struck for the fourth and final time of the game for a touchdown.
The first three all came on passes to the right side of the end zone. This time O'Neill hit Dudley in stride down the sidelines for a 27 yard strike and the Eagles first lead of the game with 10:42 left in the fourth quarter, and the score held up.
Scottsdale Christian looked to be driving to seal the win when Dudley fumbled on a running play which was scooped up Tempe Prep's Forest Redlin. The Knights drove to the Eagles 43 yard line before they were held on downs. After allowing touchdowns on the first two drives the Eagles defense stepped it up and gave their offense a chance to win it.
"In the last three games we have scored only a total of 15 points in the second half, I don't know why we become stagnate in the second half, it's my fault.," Tempe Prep coach Tom Brittain said. "It was a great game. Our defenders were not out of position, it's just that (Dudley) is better and made great plays."
Brittain also noted two of the Knights better players missed the second half. Ahmed Underwood did not play in the game and Levi Hartzler had a hip pointer and missed most of the second half.
Hartzler did most of his damage in the first half as he ended with 119 yards on just 11 rushes, 75 of those came on a first-quarter touchdown. Redlin, the quarterback, added 101 yards rushing on 12 carries.
On homecoming night for Tempe Prep, the Knights came out and scored on their first two possesions and led 12-0 after the first quarter. "Run" Forest Redlin on the third play of the game took a quarterback keeper 64 yards to the house, then Hartzler broke up the middle and raced 75 yards for a TD.
The teams combined for three touchdowns in the final three minutes of the second quarter. The Eagles got on the scoreboard after forcing the Knights to punt from the end zone. From midfield they scored two plays later as O'Neill hit Dudley for a 19-yard TD to cut the lead to 12-7. Redlin then hit Jack Otting-Crandall who bobbled the pass and then hauled it in for a 27-yard gain. Redlin then scored his second touchdown on a 14-yard run for a 18-7 cushion.
With 42 seconds left before halftime Dudley battling a Knights defender one on one got his hands on the ball and snared it in the end zone for a 32 yard TD. A Matt Thompson conversion run cut the Tempe Prep lead to 18-15 at intermission.
Anthony Brittain tipped a pass and Jonah Simminger intecepted the pass for Tempe Prep at the Eagles' 19-yard line. The Knights settled for a Getamesay Wiese 31-yard field goal for for a 21-15 lead, the only points for Tempe Prep in the second half. O'Neill then had two big gains on passes to Dudley and Sam Fillingame before O'Neill hit Dudley for an 11-yard TD to tie the game at 21-21 with 2:10 left in the third quarter. That set up the fourth and winning touchdown as an encore with the O'Neill to Dudley connection.
"Luke (O'Neill) did a great job throwing, he has four good receivers and used them. That Dudley had a heckuva game, I guess," joked father and Scottsdale Christian coach Willie Dudley.
Tempe Prep fell to 3-2 as they lost on the same field for the second straight week, falling to Valley Lutheran in another tough game last week.
Scottsdale Christian 28, Tempe Prep 21
Scottsdale Christian 0 15 6 7 -- 28
Tempe Prep 12 6 3 0 -- 21
TP - Redlin 64 run (run failed)
TP - Hartzler 75 run (run failed)
SC - Dudley 19 pass from O'Neill (Dunn kick)
TP- Redlin 14 run (pass failed)
SC- Dudley 32 pass from O'Neill (Thompson run)
TP - Wiese 31 FG
SC - Dudley 11 pass from O'Neill (run failed)
SC- Dudley 27 pass from O'Neill (Dunn kick)
First Downs - SC 13, TP 10
Rushes-Yards - SC 22-24, TP 37-230
Passing Yards - SC 275, TP 67
Comp-Att-Int - SC 19-31-1, TP 11-17-1
Fumbles-Lost - SC 3-2, TP 1-0
Penalties-Yards - SC 3-40, TP 3-35