A couple days before his destruction of Chandler’s offensive backfield, Hamilton defensive tackle Jaxon Hood talked to his older brother in North Carolina.
That would be Tevin Hood, who wreaked havoc for the Huskies two years ago before taking his talents (football and brains) to Duke University. Tevin was a stud on the Hamilton team two years ago that scored 14 points in the final 1:49 to beat Chandler.
So when Jaxon told Tevin it was Chandler week, Tevin asked his younger brother (who’s also a stud lineman) if he was ready. Jaxon said yes.
Then the 2009 game came up, and Jaxon asked Tevin if there was a moment in that two-touchdown deficit late that the Huskies resigned themselves to the idea Chandler had finally broken through against Hamilton.
“He said, ‘No, never’” Jaxon recalled after Friday’s 28-21 Huskies comeback win which was again Chandler’s for the taking, only to be given away.
Sure enough, Chandler’s four late fumbles — three forced by Hood — and an injury to starting quarterback Darell Garretson outdid a terrific defensive performance and strong running game, and Hamilton pulled one out of its you-know-what.
“I know we’re a good team, but we gave away too many things at the end,” Chandler coach Shaun Aguano said with his usual calm demeanor. “The scoreboard showed they were better, but we’ll be back.”
Isn’t that the story of Chandler’s life against Hamilton.
Neither side was enamored with the officiating, or a few hits delivered by the other. Chandler was miffed that they were called for unsportsmanlike conduct when a Wolves assistant tried to move Hamilton’s Robert Milus out of their huddle along the sideline after he sauntered over to the Wolves sideline.
Still, it’s about making plays against the clock (or not making mistakes in this case).
A game full of brutal hits — more physical than both coaches thought it would be — and typical Chandler-Hamilton jawing came down to which team could be the football version of baseball’s closer. To that end, the Wolves slipped back into yester-years.
That’s an advantage — whether physical or, as the Hood brothers discussed, mental — that Hamilton continues to hold over the state.
It’s a short week for almost everyone because of the Jewish holidays. Nearly everyone plays Thursday night, though a few smaller schools still play Friday night (Gilbert Christian, Valley Christian, Seton Catholic, Combs and San Tan Foothills).
Speaking of Hamilton (yes, we know you’ve heard/read/seen enough about them), the Huskies and Desert Vista will tangle in Ahwatukee on Thursday night. Someone will lose their first game of the year (or in three years if it winds up being the Huskies), and we could be in for a Hamilton-Chandler redux — at least in terms of competitiveness — the way Desert Vista has played this season.
Fear not, there’s more goodness elsewhere. Basha at Desert Ridge? With Parker Rasmussen back from a one-game suspension to help the sagging Jaguars offense, yeah, that should be good.
Red Mountain at Mountain View play the Brown Road brawl in Mesa. Perry meets red-hot Poston Butte as the undefeated Broncos gallop through the brutal part of their schedule.
Higley must find a way to score without quarterback Eric Kump, whose season is in jeopardy after a severe knee injury against Williams Field, and Queen Creek won’t help that cause.
•Desert Vista: The halftime stats didn’t show what the 28-6 scoreboard did, which was the Thunder were moving the ball on Saguaro. The Sabercats played their hearts out, a victim of too much speed by D.V. and too little depth by the best Div. III school in the state. Saguaro kids have to go both ways all night which is tough to do when the other team doesn’t, but give D.V. credit: A 31-28 final score means the Thunder shut down D.J. Foster and co. for the entire second half. That doesn’t happen.
•Tempe: Brian Walker’s team earned a win against Apache Junction to snap a 15-game losing streak dating back to last season. The Buffaloes have brought in some quality assistants (including former coach Tim McBurney) to help the cause of trying to make Mill and Broadway a respectable football school again. That is a massive undertaking which could require a couple years, but, given what’s involved at Tempe having nothing to do with X’s and O’s, every victory should be savored.
•ESPN2: It’s great exposure for high school football and all, but for some reason the national network thought Chaparral vs. Notre Dame would make for good TV this year. Then they thought a 5 p.m. kickoff (when it’s sunny and still 102 degrees locally) would be even better, when people are still at work, or sitting in rush hour. If the motive was to be on during prime-time in Central and Eastern time zones, why would anyone east of Apache Junction care?
•Chandler turnovers: It’s the last time we’ll harp on this. Give the Wolves credit for running the ball around the edges with LaRon Tarkington on Hamilton’s stout defense, pulling off a fake punt to keep a drive alive and a couple perfectly thrown balls by Darell Garretson before he was injured and hanging on with Javon Williams basically rendered to decoy with his ankle injury. But it’s hard to get past the fumbles, a bad punt snap and last-minute penalty when Chandler could have gotten the ball back with 19 seconds left.