November 20, 2004
Phoenix Brophy made up for two previous quarterfinal losses to Red Mountain in a big way Friday night.
Quarterback Conor Hearn passed for one score and ran for another and the Broncos defense pinned the first shutout on the Mountain Lions this season, winning 24-0 in a 5A quarterfinal playoff game at Red Mountain.
Brophy (11-1) advances to meet No. 16 seed Glendale Mountain Ridge (a 29-26 winner over Mountain View) in next week’s semifinal at Horizon High School.
‘‘We couldn’t get anything going on offense,’’ Red Mountain coach Jim Jones said. ‘‘If penalties weren’t hurting us, they were stopping us. Credit their scheme. We weren’t functioning on offense because they were on defense.’’
Red Mountain (10-2), which produced 52 points last week in the first round against Phoenix St. Mary’s, never penetrated the Brophy 20. The Lions had 289 yards of offense but never enough to keep a drive alive. Red Mountain, like Brophy, entered the game averaging 39 points a game.
Brophy coach Jeff Kearin, in his second year as head coach, relied on former Gilbert assistant Mark Nolan to craft a game plan.
‘‘Mark Nolan has dealt with these people before,’’ Kearin said. ‘‘He just put together a game plan where we were going take away (Red Mountain running back Channing) Trotter. We wanted to keep the ball on offense and keep their offense off the field.’’
It worked from the start. Brophy took the opening kickoff and took five minutes off the clock, settling for a 21-yard field goal by Hearn.
A defensive struggle ensued for most of the rest of the half. But a bad decision by Trotter to field a punt at his 5 put Red Mountain in poor field position with just less than five minutes left in the half. The fourth of 11 penalties on the night kept them in that hole and the Mountain Lions were forced to punt. Brophy took over at the Red Mountain 32 with 4:30 to play and two plays later took a 10-0 lead on a 30-yard post pattern from Hearn to Mike Gianolla.
Brophy started the second half forcing a three-and-out and took its first possession at midfield. The Broncos improved the lead to 17-0 seven plays later when Hearn scored on a 1-yard run. The key play of the drive was a face-mask penalty against Red Mountain that negated a Mountain Lions fumble recovery at the 33.
Finally, early in the fourth period, a 36-yard run by Red Mountain wingback Greg Bird from his 40 to the Brophy 24 ended in misery as Bird was stripped of the ball as he was tackled. The Broncos recovered.
Trotter finished with 126 yards rushing, but 57 came in the final minute when the outcome was decided.