The Tempe Prep football team showed a flair for the dramatic Friday night, despite an easy 51-16 victory against host Phoenix Veritas Prep that had playoff implications in the 1A West Region.
With the win, Tempe Prep (7-0) set up a battle of unbeaten teams next week with Pima.
The Knights, who have allowed their opponents no more than 16 points in any game, suffocated what coach Tim Brittain referred to as a very physical team, shutting down the Falcons’ rushing attack and never allowing their passing attack to take off.
“I think we played a very physical game, especially in the first half,” Brittain said. “I think we played most of the second half pretty even, and that really concerns me. There are still several things that we need to work on, especially going into next week’s contest.”
Tempe Prep running back David DeJeu, who ran for two touchdowns in the contest, said he felt the Knights was extremely focused going into the game.
“We knew the game was going to be very physical, and this wasn’t going to be an easy team,” DeJeu said. “We knew we had our hands full playing against a team that really needed to win this game in order to stay in the playoffs. They proved to be a physical team, but I think we were able to match their intensity, and that made a significant difference in the result.”
DeJeu’s early 34-yard run set up a 7-yard touchdown on a quarterback draw for Rocky Brittain, giving the Knights a 7-0 lead.
Veritas quarterback David Russman brought the Falcons (3-3) back later in the first quarter, finding Mark Crunnberger in the end zone to narrow the deficit to 16-8 after a successful 2-point conversion, but the Knights then ran off 21 straight points to put the game away.
“We just couldn’t stop their running game,” Veritas coach Brian Delman said. “However, we have nothing to be ashamed of. The kids played their hearts out, and I thought, overall, we played a pretty good game.”