Mesa Red Mountain, you are on the clock.
Peoria Centennial showed once again on Thursday that it is 5A-II in name only, disposing 5A-I power Phoenix Brophy 24-12 at Centennial.
In the past season and a half, the No. 1 Coyotes have knocked off elite 5A-I teams Chandler Hamilton, Phoenix Desert Vista, Chandler and now Brophy, without a loss. Their final 5A-I tussle this season will be on Oct. 23 against Red Mountain.
This win was sloppy, as Centennial lost four fumbles and saw a 17-0 halftime lead dwindle to five.
But a late 1-yard touchdown run by quarterback Dain McFarland was enough to clinch Centennial's 30th straight victory.
"We came through with the victory, and that's all that matters," Centennial lineman Dylan Lusk said.
Brophy was manhandled in the first half, and the view looked bleak heading into intermission trailing 17-0.
But the Broncos looked like a new squad in the second half, shutting down Centennial's offense and eventually closing the gap to 17-12 with 11:44 remaining in the fourth quarter.
Brophy had the ball in Centennial territory late in the game, but an attempted screen pass on third-and-7 by quarterback Chase Knox was intercepted by Lusk.
Centennial then put together a long drive, which culminated in McFarland's touchdown, to put the game away.
Knox finished the game 5-for-23 for 69 yards with three interceptions against the best defense Brophy has seen this year.
"We have a real young quarterback who made some good throws, and he has some throws that he wants back," Brophy coach Scooter Molander said.
The Broncos were trailing 17-12 before Centennial's final drive, and twice it looked as if they would get the ball back with a chance to either tie or take the lead.
On the first chance, three defenders surrounded Centennial's Anthony Hughes in the backfield on a screen pass, but he slithered away for a first down on a third-and-14.
Then, with a second-and-goal on Brophy's 1-yard line, the Coyotes' Vegas Johnson seemingly fumbled the ball, which was recovered by Brophy.
However, a whistle blew and the fumble recovery was not allowed.
"Our guys did a great job of getting the football out," Molander said of the play.
The stadium lights went out at halftime, which delayed the start of the second half.
Centennial coach Richard Taylor said that could have been a reason for his team's sluggish second half because he was told it could be a lengthy delay, and he told his players to relax.
"I said, 'Take your stuff off; we're not going out for 40 or 50 minutes,'" Taylor said. "And then, all of a sudden, 'Get your stuff back on.' I should have just kept my mouth shut."
LIVE IN-GAME UPDATES
Centennial kicks a field goal on its opening drive for 3-0 lead with 7:22 left in first as Brophy awaits its first shot on offense.
Anthony Hughes bounces off a defender and scampers 43 yards into the end zone. Centennial 10, Brophy 0 11:51 left in second quarter.
Centennial throws a 17-yard touchdown pass on 4th-and-2. Centennial 17, Brophy 0 with :38.6 seconds left in first half.
Garoutte kicked a 51-yard field goal for Brophy with 10 yards to spare. Centennial 17, Brophy 3 with 10 minutes remaining in third quarter.
Brophy's Peter Kelly just ran 69 yards for a touchdown on Brophy's first play. Centennial 17, Brophy 9 (extra point blocked) with 4:29 remaining in third.
Alex Garoutte's 36-yard field goal attempt is good. Centennial 17, Brophy 12 with 11:44 remaining.
Mcfarland 1-yard keeper for a touchdown to make it Centennial 24, Brophy 12.
Brophy (3-0) vs. Centennial (3-0)
Time: 7 p.m.
Address: 14388 N. 79th Ave., Peoria
TV: Cox (Channel 7)