Tempe Prep looking for another football miracle - East Valley Tribune: VarsityXtra

Tempe Prep looking for another football miracle

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Posted: Friday, November 7, 2008 10:56 pm | Updated: 10:22 pm, Fri Oct 7, 2011.

Most championship runs, no matter the sport, no matter the level, generally include a remarkable, season-saving play.

VIDEO: Tempe Prep's game-winning play

Most championship runs, no matter the sport, no matter the level, generally include a remarkable, season-saving play.

Should Tempe Prep go on to win the 1A state title this season, the Knights will point to the final minute of their 37-30 quarterfinal victory over Elfrida Valley Union if asked to identify theirs.

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The 50-yard scoring strike from receiver Manny Sandoval to quarterback Rocky Brittain on fourth-and-13 was memorable enough on its own, but coach Tommy Brittain believes it will ultimately go down as a turning point in the program’s history.

“I’ve been coaching a long time, and I don’t know if we’ve ever won a game we were supposed to lose,” he said.

The Knights will attempt to repeat the feat today when they play perennial power Heber Mogollon (8-1) in the first of two semifinal games at Apache Junction High School.

Tempe Prep (9-1) was a huge underdog last week. Valley Union was the defending state champ, had won 19 straight and hadn’t lost at home since 2005.

Today, the Knights are again considered long shots. The Mustangs, who have been to two title games this decade and are making their sixth straight semifinal appearance, have scored at least 50 points in every game but two this year and are 3-1 against other playoff teams. Their only loss came to Pima, the lone undefeated team in 1A.

After pulling out last week’s victory, though, the Knights are no longer intimidated by other teams’ résumés. The players now truly believe there is no opponent they can’t beat, something which wasn’t true in the past, Rocky Brittain said.

“The guys believe now, after we beat Valley Union, because we hadn’t beaten a really good team all year,” he said.

“We know if we can beat Valley Union we can play with anybody. … and everybody believes we can beat Mogollon.”

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[Stats Courtesy of MaxPreps]