November 26, 2004
Glendale Mountain Ridge would like to test uncharted waters again this week as the Mountain Lions try to continue an amazing postseason run against Phoenix Brophy in a 5A semifinal football game tonight at Horizon High. Kickoff is at 7.
Mountain Ridge, which opened the season 1-4, has faced a mustwin situation in every game since Week 6. A seven-game winning streak has taken the Mountain Lions to the Northwest Region title and first- and second-round triumphs over previously unbeaten Paradise Valley and perennial power Mountain View. No 16th seed in 5A had won a playoff game prior to this season since power-point rankings went into effect in 1997.
Brophy, the No. 5 seed, is 11-1 with its only loss to Paradise Valley in Week 7. The Broncos have convincingly dispatched Phoenix Maryvale and Red Mountain the first two rounds. Mountain Ridge and Brophy met Sept. 3 (Week 1) with Brophy winning, 27-21. Both teams have changed.
‘‘That was a lifetime ago,’’ Brophy coach Jeff Kearin said. ‘‘They’re a different team. They’ve made some big changes and tweaks. We’ve done some tweaking, too. We’ve gotten in a nice little rhythm the last few games. We want to keep it going.’’
Brophy got a consistent running effort again from tailback Markel Devorce, who rushed for 161 yards and a touchdown in its 24-0 win over Red Mountain.
‘‘He’s our go-to guy,’’ Kearin said. ‘‘He either makes a big play or gets the yards we need when we need it.’’
Mountain Ridge switched quarterbacks after Week 4 (wide receiver Austin Martin took over). The Mountain Lions have been on a roll ever since with running back Nick Bell leading the way along with Martin. Bell has rushed for 1,292 yards and 14 touchdowns. Martin has rushed for 684 yards and thrown for 1,262.
‘‘Nick was unbelievable last week,’’ Mountain Ridge coach Steve Belles said. ‘‘We made some big plays when we needed to. We have to keep making plays, and concentrate on their guy (Devorce). He’s one of the top two kids we’ve gone against all season.’’