After piling up loss after loss to eight-time state champion Mountain View — including a defeat in last year’s Class 5A-I quarterfinal round — Phoenix Desert Vista used some of its past knowledge to end its long losing streak and advance to the state semifinals.
“They’re a physical team and they like to run the ball and we’ve known that forever,” said Thunder quarterback Cole Pembroke, after his team’s 17-7 win at Toro Stadium. “Coach (Dan) Hinds said earlier in the week that we have to fight fire with fire. I think we did that. We ran the ball well and I think we were physical.
“I was told we’ve lost our last seven tries, so this is a big win for us.”
The Toros’ ball-control offense got the 2006 state runners-up a 7-0 lead with 9:09 left in first half, but it was Desert Vista’s offense that stayed on the field for the majority of the final three quarters.
The Thunder had the ball for more than 23 of the game’s final 32-plus minutes, including all but three plays in the third quarter.
An 11-play drive to start the second half failed to produce any points, but with a seven-point lead they kept the Toros at bay. Three plays later, Desert Vista got the ball back and went nine plays and took five more minutes off the clock. More importantly, Brock Jolly added a 40-yard field goal to make it a two-score game with 10:13 remaining.
“We didn’t have the ball much,” said Mountain View coach Tom Joseph. “They did a nice job of taking care of the football. We knew they were talented coming in and we were going to have to play an error-free game.”
“We wanted to try to run the ball right at them, eat up the clock and score some points,” said Hinds.