By Jérémie Sosa
Arizona’s No.1 ranked high school football team survived the Eagles scare of Sandra Day O’Connor.
After two sloppy first quarters where they trailed 14-13, the Chandler Wolves returned to the field after half-time and shut out the O’Connor Eagles 36-14.
O’Connor’s defensive back Jaden Jacobi was the Eagles’ defensive player of the game, knocking out Chandler’s Blaine Hipa twice in the first half, one of which led to a touchdown for the Eagles to give them advance to halftime.
O’Connor fumbled in his first practice of the third quarter, giving Wolves the ball with a good position on the pitch.
A few series after the fumble, Hipa joined wide receiver Justice Spann for a 63-yard touchdown. This play killed the momentum O’Connor had had in the second half, and the Eagles were never able to recover.
Out of the ordinary performer:
Chandler’s quarterback Blaine Hipa was the best player of the game, registering five passing touchdowns, including three in the second half.
Hipa was able to spread around the ball, connecting with four of his receivers for his five touchdowns.
“We went out here without being focused. We weren’t mentally prepared like we should have been all week,” Hipa said. “It’s not a game that should have been (closed). Everyone on this team knows that, and we came back here in the second half and made things happen.”
“We stopped fighting and played to our potential, and that’s how we got 36 on the board,” added Hipa.
O’Connor Eagles face Chaparral Firebirds, Chandler Wolves aim for 40th straight win over Liberty Lions
Liberty descends Sunrise Mountain in OT thriller
By: Madison Thacker
Liberty won this year’s rivalry game in a dramatic overtime game against Sunrise Mountain, 41-3.
Sunrise gave Liberty no chance in the first half, forcing the Lions to shoot every possession. Sunrise launched its attack early, with a rushed touchdown from quarterback Hunter Kronengold.
It was a turn of events in the second half. Liberty came out strong with his running game led by his quarterback Navi Bruzon and Zach Wallace.
In the first half, Sunrise kicker Easton Black posted a 52-yard field goal to extend the lead to 13-0.
Although he missed a field goal late in the fourth quarter, Black came out on top when Sunrise’s offense failed to secure a first try.
At the end of the fourth quarter, Micah Johnson forced a fumble and ran 70 yards for a touchdown to steal the lead, 21-14 for Sunrise Mountain.
Liberty responded with a touchdown to move the game into overtime. In overtime, these are consecutive touchdowns for both teams. During the last possession of Sunrise, they were unable to overtake Liberty.
Liberty scored the winning touchdown with a run from Wallace.
“Zach Wallace is our guy and once we got the ball in his hands we started to have a lot more success,” said Colin Thomas, Liberty head coach.
Although he failed in the first half, Thomas remained confident in his team.
“We knew if we could keep going we could get a touchdown on the board and the place would go crazy, which he did,” said Thomas. “We just had to break through, somebody had to make a play and we knew that once we went into overtime it was our game.”
ALA-Gilbert upsets the first Catholic Yuma
By Ben Stapley
The American Leadership Academy has a campus in Gilbert and a fairly good football team.
The second-ranked Eagles hosted the top-ranked Yuma Catholics on Friday night in a 3A showdown, and will soon take first place after a 28-25 victory.
ALA (4-0) used a powerful rushing attack along with a few timely assists from junior quarterback Adam Damante to control most of the first half.
After an early field goal from Yuma, the ALA scored 21 straight points with Brice Jobe, Easton Webster and quarterback Damante all scoring touchdowns.
Yuma (3-1) was down but never came out. Junior quarterback Richard Stallworth led and an impressive comeback, throwing a touchdown pass just to Austin Rush just before halftime.
Stallworth hit tight end Justin Erath early in the third quarter for 17 yards, and suddenly ALA’s lead was 21-17.
Jobe scored again later in the third quarter on a one-yard run and a 28-17 lead before surviving a late Stallworth touchdown.
The stars of the game
The ALA offensive line helped control the line of scrimmage and possession time. Backers Bric Jobe and Easton Webster totaled 155 yards. All four of the ALA hit the ground.
In the first three games, Adam Damante threw 12 touchdown passes.
Gilbert ALA coach Randy Ricedorff:
“There is good football being played at ALA. I was ecstatic after hearing about Queen Creek last week.
“The difference tonight was in the trenches. I knew our defensive line would do its job. But seeing our offensive line being able to line up and control the line of scrimmage was very nice. I love letting our quarterback throw the ball, but Yuma was playing for the pass and we were able to throw the ball.
“Stallworth is a great quarterback. There’s no way you’re keeping him down for the whole game. It was no surprise the way they continued to fight.