Sean Kamela is an equal opportunity tackler.
He will take down both quarterbacks and tailbacks in the end zone.
Chaparral’s offense never hit on full cylinders, but it was Kamela and Co. on the defensive side of the ball that led the Firebirds to their second straight 5A-II championship, 32-17, over Centennial on Monday at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale.
Kamela hadn’t registered a safety this year, but had a pair in the contest. The first came on a sack of Centennial quarterback Justin Sanchez to give Chaparral a 9-0 lead early in the second quarter.
The Coyotes took a 10-9 lead at the half, but the senior defensive end put Chaparral ahead for good by taking down Centennial running back Jalen Ortiz in the end zone with 6:58 remaining in the third quarter.
The score put the Firebirds ahead 11-10, and they scored three straight touchdowns from there to put it away.
“First and second (safeties) of the season,” Kamela said with a wide smile across his face. “It was awesome.”
Kamela wasn’t the only one that did the job on defense.
Colton Bishop had a team-high seven tackles, a fumble recovery, an interception and a half-sack.
Nick DeRegis added six tackles and a sack on the last play of the game.
“To end the game on something like that, is unbelievable,” he said.
Centennial’s speed has been problematic for opposing defenses all year. Between Ortiz, Vegas Johnson, and Gary Ross, the Coyotes are generally able to move the ball well with good balance.
However, those three were bottled up. Johnson had 10 carries for 16 yards, Ross had three catches for 24 yards and a touchdown, and Ortiz had five carries for 13 yards and one catch for 15 yards.
The Coyotes rushed for only 79 yards on 34 carries, and finished with minus-four yards in the final two quarters.
“I knew they had some skills guy that were fast, but I knew we were fast, too,” Chaparral coach Charlie Ragle said. “We played well. I’m proud of the defense.”
Centennial threw for 181 yards, but 66 of those came on a deep touchdown pass to Julien Singleton late in the fourth quarter with the game already decided. The Coyotes tried three different quarterbacks, including Ortiz in the wildcat formation.
But Chaparral’s defense was ready for anything.
“We gang-tackled, we ran to the football, and we ended up back-to-back state champions,” Chaparral safety Colby Targun said.