The campuses of Brophy and St. Mary’s might be just three miles apart, but as Friday night’s 58-6 shellacking by the Broncos clearly indicates, the two central Phoenix schools are separated by far more when it comes to football these days.
In a rivalry dating back to 1959, Brophy’s dominance over the last decade – nine wins in the last 10 meetings – looks to have turned one of the state’s storied traditions into a quickly fading memory.
The latest chapter at Phoenix College’s Hoy Stadium was almost a mirror image of the Broncos’ 56-0 rout of the Knights a season ago, proving that blowouts have sadly become the rule of late, rather than the exception.
“Look, they beat us two years ago,” Brophy coach Scooter Molander said in reference to St. Mary’s lone win since 2003. “So to me, it’s still is a rivalry game and you better come prepared. St. Mary’s is a good football team with a longstanding tradition. I have total respect for them and wish them well the rest of the way.”
Brophy (7-2, 5-1) recovered a botched handoff on the fourth play from scrimmage, and senior quarterback Tyler Bruggman -- who went 12 of 29 for 187 yards and four touchdowns – made the Knights pay moments later, as he connected with senior wideout Devon Allen for a 31-yard touchdown on his first pass of the night.
From there, Bruggman and Co. sat back and let the Knights self-inflict wounds time and time again.
In the first 24 minutes of play, Todd Williamson’s squad – playing with only 32 dressed players -- turned the ball over twice, missed a 23-yard field goal, gave up a 60-yard punt return for a touchdown, kicked two punts for a combined 16 yards and were flagged for a late-hit penalty after stopping the Broncos’ on a critical fourth down.
“We’ve struggled to be disciplined with the ball all year,” said Williamson. “These kids have to have mental toughness. We preach it Monday through Friday. We know that we are already physically overmatched, but we tell them that that doesn’t necessarily mean we have to be mentally overmatched.
“We have a lot of young kids we are working with, but still there are no excuses.”
Brophy senior running back Marche Dennard added a 30-yard touchdown run, and wide receiver Matthew Auran caught a 13-yard touchdown reception to end the first half, essentially making the final two quarters just a painful formality.
But for several of Brophy’s seniors, Friday’s margin of victory paled in importance compared to the victory itself. Bruggman, who has quarterbacked the Broncos since his sophomore season, said it felt nice to finally leave Phoenix College with a smile on his face.
“Being on this sideline again, we came in with a bad taste in our mouths,” said Bruggman. “For those of us who have experienced this before, we remember losing two years ago in a battle with those guys, so it was important for us to just get a win tonight. No matter how it happened, we leave with two straight victories.”
The lone bright spot for the Knights (3-5, 3-1) came on a 32-yard touchdown run by senior wide receiver Lukas Treffers in the second half to end the team’s seven-quarter scoring drought against Brophy. Treffers finished the night with 17 total touches for a combined 142 yards.
While the rivalry might have lost some of the luster it has built up over the past five decades, the Knights won't be waving a white flag any time soon.
"Our kids know what the rivalry means,” said Williamson. “All week in practice they were pumped up and ready for this. We know what we have on our sidelines and what they have on theirs. I told them it was going to be a battalion against an army, and that we had to use our bullets wisely.
“We just came up real short tonight, but I’m proud of my guys and the way they fought in spite of the score.”
Brophy 58, St. Mary's 6
Brophy 14 24 14 6 - 58
St. Mary's 0 0 0 6 - 6
First Downs: St. Mary’s 14, Brophy 13
Rushes-yards: St. Mary’s 42-232, Brophy 31-209
Passing yards: St. Mary’s 75, Brophy 187
Comp-Att-Int: St. Mary’s 10-20-3, Brophy 12-19-0
Fumbles-lost: St. Mary’s 3-2, Brophy 1-1
Penalty- yards: St. Mary’s 9-59, Brophy 5-45
B- Allen 31 pass from Bruggman (Mourikes kick)
B- Klein 60 punt return (Mourikes kick)
B – Clark 18 pass from Bruggman (Mourikes kick)
B - Mourikes 29 FG
B - Dennard 30 run (Mourikes kick)
B - Auran 13 pass from Bruggman (Mourikes kick)
B - Allen 20 pass from Bruggman (Mourikes kick)
B - Edwards 4 run (Godbehere kick)
SM- Treffers 32 run (kick failed)
B - Attaway 15 run (kick failed)