Cole Tyree put the "wild" in the "wildcat" formation Friday night, and Scottsdale Chaparral is moving on due in large part to his efforts.
The senior running back moved behind center in the second half, taking the majority of shotgun snaps and getting he Firebirds offense firing on all cylinders. He rushed for 151 of his game-high 241 yards in the second half as Chaparral pulled away from visiting Goodyear Millennium, 54-32, in a 5A-II quarterfinal matchup.
In two weeks, second-seeded Chaparral (11-1) gets a chance to avenge its only loss of the season when it meets No. 6 Scottsdale Desert Mountain in the semifinals.
From the reaction of the Firebirds players - and coaching staff - Chaparral looked ready to play again as soon as Friday night's game ended.
"A lot of things have been said about our guys and Scottsdale players," fired-up Chaparral coach Charlie Reagle said. "They say we're soft ... that we get everything handed to us. Well, we played four quarters tonight. That's what it's all about."
The Firebirds used a high-scoring fourth quarter to seal the outcome against the seventh-seeded Tigers (7-5).
Chaparral scored three times in a five-minute span of the fourth quarter and four times in the game's final nine minutes.
Tyree started the scoring binge late in the third quarter, when his 21-yard run put the Firebirds up for good at 27-26 with 27 seconds left in the frame.
Chaparral added to the lead when Conner Brewer dropped a beautiful 16-yard pass on third-and-goal into the corner of the end zone for Rob Mougey, giving the Firebirds a 34-26 advantage with 9:05 to play.
Chris Arnold set up the next score when he returned a Tigers fumble 30 yards to the 10-yard-line. It was the first of two costly turnovers for Millennium in the second half.
"Coach didn't have to tell us much at halftime," Tyree said. "We knew the mistakes we were making. We just played football the way we are supposed to in the second half."
Millennium - which held a 26-13 lead early in the third quarter - came right back. The Tigers cut the gap to 34-32 when Mike Massey found Jason Vizcaino on a 73-yard scoring pass just two plays after Mougey's TD reception.
But Chaparral needs only two plays of its own to increase its lead once again. Tyree ran twice for 42 yards out of the wildcat formation, with the final 19 getting him in the end zone and giving the Firebirds a 40-32 advantage.
"We've used that formation since about the third week of the season, and we expect it to work," said Tyree, who carried the ball 24 times on the night and averaged better than 10 yards per attempt.
"It's fun when we get our offense going like that."
Following Tyree's score, Millennium fumbled the kick-off and, two plays later, Dwayne Garrett scored on a 2-yard run for a 47-32 Chaparral lead.
On Chaparral's next possesion, Garrett scored his fourth touchdown of the game, this one from 13 yards, out to complete the scoring. Garrett finished with 83 yards on 20 carries.
"I couldn't be more proud of our guys right now," Raigle said. "Anyone who says our players are soft don't watch us play."
Millennium controlled the first half, gaining 152 of its 233 rushing yards and taking a 20-13 lead into the break. Jack Donahue caught a 5-yard touchdown pass from Massey to end the first half.
The Tigers increased the margin to 26-13 on their first possession of the second half. They went 58 yards in six plays, with Marquis Flowers scoring on a 2-yard run for his only touchdown of the night. Flowers finished with 100 yards on 19 carries.
Garrett's first score, which came on a 5-yard run, gave Chaparral a 6-3 lead, and Mougey's 42-yard TD reception on a pass from Alex Holmes tied the score at 13-13 midway through the second quarter.
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A 5-yard touchdown run by Dwayne Garrett gives Chaparral a 6-3 lead over Millennium at the end of the first quarter.
Millennium ties the score at 6-6 on a 46-yard FG early in the second quarter.
After an interception, Millennium takes a 13-6 lead over Chaparral on a 36-yard run by Kyle Jackson.
A 42-yard touchdown pass from Chaparral's Alex Holmes to Rob Mougey ties the score at 13-13 late in the first half.
Millennium scores on a 2-yard run by Marquis Flowers and now leads Chaparral 26-13 with 7:01 left in the third quarter.
Chaparral scores on Dwayne Garrett's 1-yard TD run to cut Millennium's lead to 26-20 late in the third quarter.
Chaparral takes a 27-26 over Millennium lead on a 21-yard TD run by Cole Tyree with 27 seconds left in the third quarter.
After the Firebirds get a 21-yard touchdown pass from Conner Brewer to Rob Mougey, Millennium comes right back with a 77-yard TD pass of its own. The Firebirds now lead 34-32 with 8:21 left in the game.
Chaparral has pulled away quickly with a 19-yard run by Cole Tyree and a Dwayne Garrett 4-yard run that came right after Millennium fumbled the kickoff.
Dwayne Garrett scores on a 12-yard run to extend the Firebirds' lead to 54-32 with. 1:34 left in the game.
No. 7 Millennium vs. No. 2 Chaparral
Time: 7 p.m.
Address: 6935 E. Gold Dust Ave., Scottsdale
Key matchup: Millennium has a trio of big-time offensive players led by RB Marquis Flowers, dual-threat QB Mike Massey and WR Jason Vizcaino. It will be Chaparral’s biggest defensive test of the season to date.
Stat leaders: Chaparral — Rushing: Dwayne Garrett 173 carries, 1,470 yards, 25 TDs; Cole Tyree 126-918, 8 TDs. Passing: Connor Brewer 96 of 148 passing, 1,583 yards, 5 INT, 16 TDs. Receiving: Danny Trittler 43 catches, 689 yards, 10 TDs; Rob Mougey, 18-340, 1 TD.
Millennium — Rushing: Marquis Flowers 116 carries, 1,161 yards, 15 TDs; Mike Massey 91-447, 10 TDs; Deanthony Easley 53-421, 2 TDs. Passing: Mike Massey 126 of 209 passing, 2,087 yards, 8 INT, 17 TDs. Receiving: Jason Vizcaino 42 catches, 784 yards, 8 TDs; Kieran Duncan 19-364, 2 TDs.
Key stat: Chaparral has 42.5 sacks this season.
The intrigue: Following an emotional two weeks, Chaparral got back to its old self last week in a romp against Gilbert Perry, but the competition goes up a notch (or more) from here on out. Millennium has been solid all season, with losses to Centennial, Pinnacle and Ironwood this season (Chaparral beat Pinnacle and the Pioneers beat Ironwood last week in the playoffs). If the Firebirds can win, another matchup with a Desert Valley Region foe awaits in two weeks.