Desert Ridge will go as far in the Division I playoffs as tailback Taren Morrison will carry them.
The junior phenom had another "typical" performance Friday night, leading No. 4 Desert Ridge to a 44-24 quarterfinal playoff victory against No. 12 Brophy.
Morrison rushed for 358 yards and five touchdowns Friday night, setting up a Division I semifinal showdown with No. 1 seed Mountain Pointe (12-0) next Friday at McClintock High School.
Mountain Pointe is a team many consider unbeatable. But through 12 games, Taren Morrison has proven himself unstoppable.
“We’re excited, but we know we’re really gonna have to bring it against Mountain Pointe,” Morrison said after the game.
In the meantime, Desert Ridge will enjoy the hard fought victory over Brophy (5-7), as well as the notable state record which was broken Friday night.
The Jaguars (11-1) needed 280 team rushing yards to break the big-school record for total rushing yards in a season. It’s a record that Tucson High set in 1970. With 511 total rushing yards Friday night, the record was easily eclipsed.
“We knew we were close, but we just wanted to come out and play our game, and let that take care of itself,” said Morrison, who did more than his part to help break the record.
The electric running back scored every offensive touchdown Friday night, including a pair of 50-yard runs in the second half, which gave upset-minded Brophy too much to overcome.
“(Taren) is just a monster talent,” said Desert Ridge coach Jeremy Hathcock. “But I have to give Brophy credit. They came to win, not just to play the part.”
Indeed, Brophy put up a fight, especially in the second half, as the offense seemed to find a rhythm through the air. Trailing 17-3 at halftime after Desert Ridge kicker Landon Whitlow made a 49-yard field goal, Brophy quarterback Brian Woodward led the Broncos to 21 second-half points, almost entirely through the air.
With little rushing attack to speak of, Woodward was still able to throw for 244 yards and two touchdowns. But Desert Ridge was able to intercept three Woodward passes, one of which was returned for a touchdown by linebacker Amonai Itaaehau, who was able to step in front of a screen pass before taking it 40 yards to the end zone near the end of the third quarter.
That score gave Desert Ridge a 30-10 lead. Brophy kept fighting back, but the deficit was too much to overcome.
“That play didn’t help us by any means,” Brophy coach Scooter Molander said. “But I’m proud of our kids. They’re fighters and they showed that tonight. We had a lot of young kids play this year.”
Desert Ridge 44 Brophy 10
First Downs: DR 21, Brophy 12
Rushing: DR 45-511, Brophy 19-23
Passing (Comp.-Att.-Yards-TD-INT): DR 4-8-24-0-0, Brophy 12-22-244-2-3
Fumbles-lost: DR 3-2, Brophy 1-0
Penalties: DR 12-110, Brophy 7-70
DR 7 10 13 14 -- 44
Brophy 0 3 7 14 -- 24
DR-Taren Morrison 12 run (Whitlow kick)
B-Mourikes 28 FG
DR-Morrison 9 run (Whitlow kick)
DR-Whitlow 49 kick
Brophy-Velez 2 run (Mourikes kick)
DR-Morrison 9 run (Whitlow kick)
DR-Itaaehau 40 interception return (kick blocked)
B-Velez 25 reception from Woodward (Mourikes kick)
DR-Taren Morrison 50 run (kick blocked)
B-Oliver 28 reception from Woodward (Mourikes kick)
DR-Taren Morrison 50 run (Irby run)