Maurice Lee was the last one off the bench and into the postgame handshake line for Marcos de Niza on Friday night.
It was the only time the Padres’ star running back could catch his breath.
Lee carried the ball 23 times for 320 yards and four touchdowns to lead No. 2 Marcos de Niza past No. 7 Chaparral, 49-36, in the Division II state quarterfinals at Marcos de Niza H.S. The Padres will move on to face No. 3 Ironwood Ridge next Friday at Campo Verde.
Lee punctuated his night with a 42-yard run on the last play of the game then huffed and puffed afterward, but the 5-foot-7 senior enjoyed all the action.
“It wasn’t tough at all,” Lee said. “I always expect the coaches to give me a lot of carries because I know what I can do with it.”
Lee, quarterback Josh Eckley and wide receiver Paul Elvira helped the Padres jump out to a 35-10 halftime lead, and the defense came up with some big second-half turnovers to seal the victory.
Chaparral trailed by 25 points with under five minutes remaining in the third quarter but had the ball in a 42-30 game with more than 10 minutes left in the fourth. On the first play of that drive, quarterback Brad Schencker threw a deep pass intended for Jordin Hamilton that looked like a would-be touchdown. However, Hamilton couldn’t corral it, and two plays later, Schencker threw the fourth of his five interceptions.
Marcos de Niza scored on its subsequent possession to put the game out of reach. Dominique Fenstermacher had the pick, which was the last of his three interceptions. Priest Willis and Josh Kirkwood also picked off passes.
“That was a great feeling,” said Fenstermacher of his final interception. “I was like, ‘The game’s over. The seniors get another game.’ We were the underdog. I don’t know why we were the underdog, but we were. We came in and got it done.”
Chaparral led 10-7 late in the first quarter but Marcos de Niza scored 28 straight points to take control. The Padres scored 14 in the final 1:44 of the first half, including a touchdown run by Lee with 12 seconds remaining to punctuate an 88-yard drive which took less than a minute.
Eckley was 8-of-15 for 176 yards passing with a pair of touchdowns and added 59 rushing yards and a score. Elvira had six catches for 132 yards and two touchdowns, which all came in the first half.
Lee had touchdown runs of 80, 48, 4 and 4 yards.
“My hat’s off to them,” Chaparral coach Dave Huffine said. “They have guys that, when the pressure was on them, they came through.”
Schencker was 19-of-41 for 263 yards and four touchdowns. Jordin Hamilton had 10 catches for 157 yards and two scores.
The loss ends Chaparral’s quest for a fourth straight state championship. The Firebirds knocked off Marcos de Niza in the title game in 2009 to start the run, but the Padres exacted revenge in this one.
“This was the game of our high school lives,” Lee said. “I’m so glad we beat them.”
C -- 10 0 14 12 -- 36
MDN -- 14 21 7 7 -- 49
First Downs: C 21; MDN 15
Rushes-Yards: C 33-121; MDN 46-404
Comp-Att-Int: C 19-41-5; MDN 8-15-0
Passing yards: C 263; MDN 176
Fumbles-Lost: C 1-0; MDN 2-1
Penalties-Yards: C 3-25; MDN 11-90
C — McReynolds 25 FG
MDN — Lee 80 run, Jones kick
C — Whiley 20 pass from Schencker, McReynolds kick
MDN — Lee 48 run, Jones kick
MDN — Elvira 13 pass from Eckley, Jones kick
MDN — Elvira 35 pass from Eckley, Jones kick
MDN — Lee 4 run, Jones kick
C — Schencker 3 run, McReynolds kick
MDN — Eckley 5 run, Jones kick
C — Hamilton 1 pass from Schencker, McReynolds kick
C — Hamilton 25 pass from Schencker, kick blocked
MDN — Lee 4 run, Jones kick
C — Whiley 7 pass from Schencker, run failed