Tempe quarterback Emanuel Gant, threw for five touchdowns and ran for another Friday to help the Buffaloes defeat visiting Arcadia, 49-39 in a Division III football shootout.
Tempe's win sets up a matchup against surging Seton Catholic (Div. IV) next Friday at Tempe High School.
In a game that saw the two teams racked up a combined 1,188 yards of offense, Tempe was able to outlast the Knights behind Gant’s 493 yards on 32 of 42 passing.
The Buffaloes took an 8-point lead into halftime and had an answer every time Arcadia tried to close the gap.
The Knights rushed 44 times for 305 yards and even got as close as three points late in the fourth quarter, but three costly interceptions prevented them from ever taking the lead as Tempe scored a rushing touchdown late to put the game away.
The win improved the Buffaloes record to 6-2 overall. The loss dropped Arcadia to 3-5.
Horizon 63, Camelback 13: Dalton Sneed helped the Huskies improve to 7-1 on the season by going 10-of-16 passing for 142 yards and four touchdowns. Horizon trailed 7-3 after the first quarter, but went on to outscore visiting Camelback 39-0 in the second quarter to take a 42-7 lead into the half. Shane Kortas scored a touchdown on a 23-yard pass, 54-yard run and 55-yard punt return for Huskies, while their defense recorded two safeties and a 98-yard fumble return for a touchdown by Luke Quinn. Teammate Ryan Neel returned a kickoff 90 yards for a score.
Desert Mountain 43, Willow Canyon 21: Led by Greg Frasko’s 13 tackles, the Wolves’ defense forced three turnovers and running back Daniel Fedorka did the rest, finishing the game with 149 yards and two touchdowns on 15 carries. Joe Duran did a little bit of everything for visiting Desert Mountain (7-1), as he rushed for 50 yards and a touchdown while catching four balls for 48 yards and another score. Desert Mountain won despite QB Kyle Allen sitting out much of the season half with an apparent back injury, as the Wolves and Pinnacle will meet in a big NE Valley matchup next week.
Queen Creek 36, Poston Butte 3: Bulldogs running back, Matt Guida, carried his team to victory, rushing 13 times for 154 of Queen Creek's 282 yards, plus two scores. The two touchdowns gave Guida 21 on the year, and kept the Bulldogs (8-0) undefeated in Div. III. Poston Butte dropped to 4-4 overall.
Scottsdale Prep 61, Rancho Solano 13: Nick Smith threw seven touchdown passes including four to Matt Munsil and two to Greyson Boyll as the Spartans (8-0) won easily on the road. Smith scored rushing the ball, as well, collecting 44 yards rushing on eight carries. Munsil caught 10 balls for 200 yards, and was just as impressive on defense with 10 tackles, one sack and one interception. Boyll had 108 yards receiving on four receptions and rushed nine time for 84 yards and a score.
Saguaro 63, Coronado 0: The Sabercats (6-2) ran away with this one, rushing 29 times for 441 yards, while the Dons (3-5) were held to 56 yards rushing as a team. Host Saguaro jumped out to an early 14-0 lead in the first quarter and never let up.
Chaparral 55, Shadow Mountain 7: Emerson Carrethers rushed for 139 yards on only five carries and two touchdowns, while Jake Roh had three total touchdowns in the Firebirds' (5-3) easy victory. It was Chaparral's fourth win in a row. Sean Paul Brophy and Brad Schencker combined to go 11-of-14 passing for 128 yards, three touchdowns and one turnover.
Campo Verde 38, Florence 13: Coyotes’ quarterbacks Luke Pineda and Brandon Turner combined to throw for five touchdowns in Campo Verde’s road win. Pineda had scoring throws of 19 and 40 yards, while Turner tossed TDs of the 12, 4 and 10 yards, respectively. The Gophers (3-5) led 7-3 early in the first quarter before the Coyotes (6-2) scored 28 unanswered points to pull away.
Scottsdale Christian 34, Phoenix Christian 14: Chaz Dudley had five receptions for 162 yards and two touchdowns, as well as nine rushes for 39 yards to lead the Eagles(6-1) to a win on the road. Quarterback Luke O’ Neill threw for 262 yards and two touchdowns on 11-of 19 passing.
Valley Christian 39, Combs 27: Cory Kasperson and Ty Corbin rushed for 118 yards and 129 yards, respectively, as the Trojans amassed nearly 500 yards versus the visiting Coyotes (1-7). The win improved Valley Christian’s record to 4-4 overall.
Saguaro 63, Coronado 0
Saguaro 14 28 21 0 -- 63
Coronado 0 0 0 0 -- 0
First Downs: S 20, C 4
Rushing: S 29-441, C 28-31
Passing: S 6-8-95-1, C 4-12-24-2
Penalties: S 5-35, C 4-30
Fumbles/lost: S 0-0, C 0-0
Queen Creek 36, Poston Butte 3
Queen Creek 7 15 14 0 -- 36
Poston Butte 3 0 0 0 -- 3
First Downs: QC 11 PB 7
Rushing: QC 23-175
Passing: QC 11-14-107
Penalties: QC 5-45 PB 4-35
Fumbles/lost: QC 1-0 PB 1-1
Scottsdale Prep 61, Rancho Solano Prep 13
Scottsdale Prep 20 27 6 8 -- 61
Rancho Solano 0 0 7 6 – 13
Sp – Boyll 47 pass from Smith (McKeighan pass from Smith)
SP –Munsil 43 pass from Smith (Pass fail)
SP – Munsil 7 pass from Smith (Run fail)
SP – Munsil 21 pass from Smith (Kick fail)
SP – Boyll 5 run (Stefan Speno kick)
SP – Boyll 46 pass from Smith (Speno kick)
SP – Wright 40 pass from Smith (Speno kick)
R – Shouse 36 pass from Martinez (Alex Sims kick)
SP – Munsil 16 pass from Smith (Kick fail)
R – Shouse 40 pass from Martinez (Kick fail)
SP – Smith 25 run (Munsil pass from Weisbrod)
Horizon 63, Camelback 13
Camelback 7 0 0 6 -- 13
Horizon 3 39 7 14 -- 63
H – McAtamney 34 FG
C – Medina 1 run (Valladares kick)
H – Sneed to Kortas 23 pass (McAtamney kick)
H – Safety
H – Kortas 55 punt return (McAtamney kick)
H – Safety
H – Sneed to Quinn 32 pass (McAtamney kick)
H – Sneed to Robinson 24 pass (McAtamney pass)
H – Sneed to Robinson 2 pass (McAtamney kick)
H - Quinn 98 fumble return (McAtamney kick)
C –Medina to Zepeda 13 pass (Kick fail)
H – Neel 90 kickoff return (Mcatamney kick)
H – Kortas 54 run (McAtamey kick)
Tempe 49, Arcadia 39
Arcadia 7 13 12 7 -- 39
Tempe 7 21 14 7 -- 49
First Downs: A 30, T 30
Rushing: A 44-305, T 16-119
Passing: A 22-31-271-3, T 32-42-493
Penalties: A 9, T 6
Fumbles/lost: A 1-1, T 2-2
Desert Mtn. 43, Willow Canyon 21
Desert Mountain 7 13 14 9 -- 43
Willow Canyon 0 6 15 0 -- 21
First Downs: DM 17 WC 11
Rushing: DM 39-248 WC 29-214
Passing: DM 7-10-135-1 WC 10-21-123-3
Penalties: DM 0-0 WC 0-0
Fumbles/lost: DM 7-68 WC 9-72
DM: Duran 2 pass from Allen (Taylor kick)
DM: Fedorka 21 run (kick failed)
DM: Duran 4 run (Taylor kick)
WC: Thompson 42 run (kick failed)
DM: Erickson 20 run (Taylor kick)
WC: Thompson 1 run (Thompson run)
DM: Mark Andrews 56 pass from Erickson (Taylor kick)
WC: Thompson 80 run (Desiree Justus kick)
DM: Safety (WC intentional grounding in end zone)
DM: Fedorka 15 run (Taylor kick)
Campo Verde 38, Florence 13
Campo Verde 10 7 14 7 -- 38
Florence 7 0 0 6 – 13
CV - Austin Wells 26 FG
F - Nick Brown 7 pass from Edy Ruiz
CV - Erick Belcher 19 pass from Luke Pineda
CV - Jordan Fickas 40 pass from Pineda.
CV - Zach Patton 12 pass from Brandon Turner
CV - Darius Williams 4 pass from Turner
F - Brown 29 yd pass from Ruiz
CV - Jacob Boyer 10 pass from Turner
Scottsdale Christian 34, Phoenix Christian 14
Scottsdale Christian 0 13 14 7 -- 34
Phoenix Christian 0 0 7 7 -- 14
Rushing: SC 26-197
Passing: SC 11-19-262-1
Coolidge 49, San Tan Foothills 12
Coolidge 7 21 14 7 -- 49
San Tan Foothills 0 0 6 6 -- 12
Rushing: STF 42-240
Passing: STF 3-7-13-1
Valley Christian 39, Combs 27
Combs 0 0 13 14 -- 27
VC 6 13 13 7 -- 39
Rushing: VC 47-307
Passing: VC 10-22-182-1
Marcos de Niza 49, McClintock 12
Marcos de Niza 21 14 7 7 -- 49
McClintock 6 6 0 0 -- 12
Gilbert Christian 70, Ash Fork
Ash Fork 0 0 0 0 -- 0
Gilbert Christian 36 12 8 14 -- 70
Chandler Prep 60, Superior 42
Superior 8 14 14 6 -- 42
Chandler Prep 6 13 22 19 -- 60
It's strange to say a game with more than 100 total points turned on a defensive play.
But that one stop in the fourth quarter was enough for visiting (Division III No. 8) Sunrise Mountain to bring home a 57-47 win back from (No. 10) Phoenix Paradise Valley Friday night.
Holding on to a 50-47 lead with 2:30 remaining, the Mustangs forced prolific quarterback Ryan Finley to rush a screen pass to junior Carl Westlund, who turned his body around but could only pop the ball in the air. Senior defensive end Johnthan Salari tracked the batted pass and made a diving interception at the Mustangs' 19.
"I saw that their tackle went off, so I bounced off him. Their quarterback turned right away so I reached up my hand as high as I could and tipped that," Salari said. "I turned around, he missed the catch and caught it just before it hit the ground."
From there, junior tailback Elijah Castro ripped off runs of 47, 19 and 18 yards to give Sunrise Mountain (7-1) some breathing room. The last dash, on which he spun off tackles and lunged into the end zone put the visitors up 10 with 1:23 left.
"Our offensive line is great kids on and off the field. We went in at halftime and asked them what they felt like we should do," Castro said. "We did what they wanted and they opened some big holes. I couldn't do anything without them."
However Finley, who passed for four touchdowns and ran in two more, was not done. He drove Paradise Valley (5-3) down to the 7 in 50 seconds before Castro picked off his throw into tight coverage near the goal line.
"It was down to the end and they could have scored and onside kicked it. They can score in one second," Sunrise Mountain coach James Carter said. "That quarterback is awesome and their receivers are fundamentally sound. They catch balls and run good routes."
The teams combined for 101 points in their 2011 meeting a 52-49 Mustangs win and returned most of their playmakers. But the expected shootout was slow to materialize.
The squads were tied at seven after a quarter. Paradise Valley crossed up the Mustangs with eight first-quarter runs by sophomore Bailey Thompson.
On their second drive, the Trojans mixed in their lethal short-range passing game. Finley found his favorite target, senior Joey Gatewood, running along the back of the end zone for a five-yard touchdown.
Sunrise Mountain was prepared for the directional kickoff, moving up Castro and junior speedster Nick Haleman to the second row of the return team. The change paid off as Haleman fielded the pooch kick at the 26 and dashed 74 yards to tie the game.
Two Sunrise Mountain fumbles inside their own 25 sparked the Trojans' 24-point second quarter. Quarterback Neiman Sneed coughed it up at the 24 and Finley hit junior Trent Gavelek for a 10-yard scoring toss soon after.
Sneed rebounded with a weaving 30-yard run to set up junior Corey Brown's bullish 3-yard touchdown on fourth down.
The Trojans regained the lead in less than three minutes on Finley's scramble from the 11, though a missed extra point left it at 20-14. Then both teams cranked up their offenses, combining for three touchdowns in the final two minutes.
Castro dropped a handoff at the 23. Westlund scored from three yards out on a fly sweep to make it 27-14.
"We beat ourselves in the first half with turnovers and giving up short fields," Carter said. "Donnie Yantis is a great coach and he has a great staff. We knew it was going to be a shootout. He's got a great quarterback and a great team and I'm sure we'll see them again in the playoffs."
The Trojans countered by forgetting to cover one of the state's most dangerous wideouts. Sneed gunned it to senior Elroy Masters at the Trojans' 40 and no defended was withing 10 yards. Masters cut back across the field and completed the 78-yard touchdown pass.
However, the quick score left Finley with 1:29 to operate. He completed four passes to bring the home team inches away. Senior Devon Graffis was stopped at the 1 and Paradise Valley called a time out with two seconds left.
Going for broke on fourth down, Finley connected with a sliding Gatewood and secured a 34-21 halftime lead.
The advantage lasted another 12 seconds of game time, as Castro returned the second half kickoff 89 yards to score.
"I think the opening kickoff for the touchdown was huge," Paradise Valley coach Donnie Yantis said. "I told these kids before we walked out of the locker room that this kickoff was probably the most important kickoff of the year. It gave them life."
Paradise Valley stalled, but Finley's punt forced the Mustangs to start at their two. Sunrise Mountain responded with a 12-play drive to take the lead, capped by Sneed's eight-yard dash into the end zone.
Two minutes later, the home team again was riding the crest of momentum. Finley regained the lead on a seven-yard run.
Then, the Trojans won the scrum for an onside kick. On the next play, Finley threw a bubble screen to junior Jordan Brown, who took off down the sidelines for 40 yards and a touchdown.
Suddenly down 47-35, the Mustangs answered back equally fast. Corey Brown went off tackle on the next play from scrimmage and breezed 65 yards to the end zone.
"Our offensive line is getting better every week. They're big, they block well and that's why our skill kids are successful," Carter said.
The defense finally responded, stuffing Finley on a fourth and five attempt from the Trojans' 45.
On third and goal, Sneed set up a middle screen to Castro, who scooted 10 yards to give Sunrise Mountain the lead. Then he caught Sneed's two-point conversion pass and stretched the ball over then plane for a 50-47 lead.
"We couldn't focus about what (their offense) was doing so much," Sneed said. "It's nerve-wracking when we get in games like this, but we did what we do."
The Mustangs would seal the game with their two late interceptions, rebounding after Boise State-bound Finley carved up their defense for 45 minutes.
The senior completed 31 of 48 passes for 365 yards and four touchdowns, and added 36 rushing yards and two scores. Gatewood made a remarkable 17 catches for 199 yards, while Brown added seven receptions for 120 yards.
Sunrise Mountain split its offensive duties among it's four primary playmakers.
Dual-threat Sneed completed 12 of 16 throws for 190 yards and rushed for 70 yards on 18 carries. Masters snagged seven passed for 155 yards.
Shifty Castro finished with 102 yards on 11 carries, while power back Brown added 99 on nine totes.
The win sets up a showdown next week for the Mustangs against district rival and No. 7 Cactus (6-2), led by Carter's mentor Larry Fetkenhier.
"This is a huge win for us, our staff, the kids and the community. It's good for the kids that have been at Sunrise for the last 10 years," Carter said. "We'll enjoy it tonight and be back to work tomorrow. Coach Fetkenhier is a great coach and we'll have our work cut out for us."
Paradise Valley wraps its home schedule against Cactus Shadows next week. Should the Trojans win out, their passing attack can give even the best Division III defenses fits.
"I told the kids losses like this sometimes bring out a man's true character. You can pout, put your head down and make excuses or you can look your men in the eye and say 'We made these mistakes and we're going to get better,'" Yantis said. "We'll get better. The sun will rise tomorrow and we'll get to work on Cactus Shadows in the morning."