Despite missed opportunities, Brophy Prep pulled out a gritty 28-23 win over Basha in its final regular-season game Friday at Phoenix College, all but assuring the Broncos a playoff bid.
Meanwhile, the Bears (6-3), eighth in Class 6A playoff seeding going into the game, might have cost themselves a first-round home game with the loss. They finish their regular season Friday against powerhouse Perry.
Brophy, 11th in seeding going into the game, has a final-week bye and ends the regular season 7-3. The top 16 make the playoff field, the top eight open at home.
“Huge. It was huge for our football program,” Brophy coach Jon Kitna said. “We are 7-3 and we’re going to the playoffs.”
The first half was riddled with mistakes by both teams. Basha scored eight points in the first minute and six seconds on a safety followed by an 80 yard kick return for a touchdown by Andrell Barney. Basha could have made it 10 points but missed a two-point conversion attempt.
Brophy settled down and gave the Bears fits with its rushing. Senior running back Marques White had 78 rushing yards and a touchdown before leaving with an injury with 5:31 to go in the second quarter.
“My energy didn’t stop. Even though I was off the field I was able to support the team on the sidelines,” White said. “When I went down (my teammates) came over and asked how I was doing but I was like, ‘No don’t worry about.’ I’m wondering how you’re doing and how the team is doing.”
White would return in the second half to add 74 rushing yards, including a seven-yard scoring run.
“Marcus is a big part of our team,” said junior wide receiver Regis Velez. “He is a great leader. He comes up big when we need it the most and that’s what’s really special about him. Not only that but the routine plays that he makes, it’s consistent. That’s what we really need on this team is consistency.”
Brophy junior running back Andre Eden stepped in until White could return with 46 yards on four carries.
“That’s kind of been the story of our season. We’ve got 60 games missed by players over the course of 10 weeks. So, players have stepped up big time and played big minutes for us and certainly Andre did that tonight,” Kitna said.
Although Kitna was happy with the win, he knows there’s work to do going into the bye week before the playoffs begin. Velez knows that in practice this week the team will be working hard to fix errors.
“Cleaning up our mistakes, mental errors, knowing our assignments: It’s really about doing our 1/11th on the field,” Velez said. “So once we can master that, I think we can take off big time.”