The first football game of the season can’t define a season, but it can set the tone.
Desert Ridge came away from Friday’s opener knowing it can overcome mistakes and withstand some sloppy play and still win after knocking off Brophy 30-21 at Central High’s Ray Laing Field.
They just do not want to have to rely on it too often.
“We showed we can fight through the adversity,” senior linebacker Chayse Thompson said. “We made a lot of mistakes, gave up some big plays, but when we had to dig in we came through. If we get in that situation again, we know we can do it.”
The Jaguars overcame four fumbles, a missed extra-point and a 21-point second quarter by the Broncos, including a two-play, 53-yard drive in the final 30 seconds of the first half, to beat Brophy (0-2).
“That wasn’t pretty, but there was a lot to like, too,” Jaguars coach Jeremy Hathcock said. “The defense played really well. The offensive line took over when it needed to and we overcame some adversity to win on the road against a good program.”
The Jaguars put the game away in the fourth quarter when the offensive line, which had its lineup shuffled all week due to injuries and deaths in two separate families, imposed its will on the Brophy defense.
With a 23-21 lead, Desert Ridge took possession on its own 7-yard line with 7:33 remaining. Ten plays, and 5 minutes and 57 seconds later, Lucas Wright put the game away with a 5-yard touchdown run.
The drive was headed up by junior quarterback Cooper Schmidt, who got the start over sophomore Matt Purnell as they alternated drives throughout the game, as he ran for 12 yards on 3rd-and-7 from the Jaguar 35 to extend the drive, that included 11 runs and one dropped pass.
Schmidt used his legs all game long, including a 12-yard score in the second quarter, to finish with 51 yards on seven carries.
“I didn’t use to run, but than I got faster through hard work in track,” said Schmidt, who was in the game for three of the four Desert Ridge touchdown drives. “Then I started running (at quarterback) and saw I could add it to my game.”
The drive to seal the game came much later in the game than needed to be due to four lost fumbles, which gave Brophy a short field to work with and kept the Broncos in the game.
“Our defense was stout all night,” Brophy coach Scooter Molander said. “They held up well, and made some big plays. (Desert Ridge) made some mistakes, but we had guys in position to take advantage. We just didn’t get enough done on offense to get the job done.”
The Jaguars’ defense did get one turnover, a fumble recovery by Thompson that led to Logan Stephens’ 30-yard field goal in the third quarter for a 23-21 lead.
“We shut down their running game, and other than that one drive (just before the half), they didn’t move the ball much,” said Thompson, who also had a sack. “This was the first game, and we had to figure some things out but we made the plays when we had to to win it.”
– Jason P. Skoda is a senior writer for MyNewsMesa.com. Send Mesa-based story ideas to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Desert Ridge 30, Brophy Prep 21
DR 13 7 3 7 –31
BP 0 21 0 0—21
DR – Allen 2 run (Stephens kick), 8:48
DR – Allen 1 run (missed PAT), 3:52
BP – Velez 2 run (Garcia kick), 7:52
BP – Velez 4 run (Garcia kick), 1:02
DR – Schmidt 12 run (Stephens kick), :37
BP – Arthur 17 pass from Gonzales (Garcia kick), :09
DR – Stephen 30 FG, 28.6
DR – Wright 5 run (Stephens kick), 1:37
First downs 22 10
Rush-yards 47-247 25-30
Comp-Att-Int 5-8-0 12-28-0
Pass Yards 69 161
Penalties 5-30 11-77
Fumbles/lost 4/4 1/1
DR – Allen 16-95. Elliot 15-55, Schmidt 7-51, Purnell 1-13, Logan 6-23, Wright 2-8. BP – Velez 11-15, Dimaria 3-7, J. Anthony-Gonzales 2-3, N. Gonzales 8-2.
DR – Schmidt 3-5-0-17, Purnell 2-3-0-42. BP – N. Gonzales 12-28-0-161.
DR – Eastman 1-10, Bethel 2-43, Allen 1-11, Brooks 1-5. BP – Juniel 2-40, Grindey 2-9, Argetsinger 2-20, Arthur 4-71, Mullins 1-9, Waters 1-12.