Friday night’s undefeated city rivalry game between Tempe and Tempe McClintock turned into the Tempe High Offensive Show.
Led by a 42-point second quarter, the Buffaloes improved to 3-0 with a 69-38 victory over the now 2-1 Chargers in front of a large contingent of backers of both programs at Bruce Harper Stadium.
“This was built up as being a track meet and about (McClintock’s) high-potent offense,” said Tempe coach Brian Walker. “We had respect for them, but we weren’t scared.”
The only thing scary was the Buffaloes second-quarter numbers.
When junior phenom Emanuel Gant scored on an 8-yard quarterback sneak 12 seconds into the second quarter, the offensive floodgates opened. Gant, who finished 13-of-24 for 350 yards and five touchdowns, threw for three scores in the second. He connected with Sebastian Watkins for an 18-yard score, Osvaldo Gomez on a 37-yard strike and Massiah Smith for a 49-yarder before the half.
Leading 49-18 to start the second half, Gant found Quinton Garrett on a 94-yard play early in the third and connected one more time with Garrett on a 34-yarder to up his club’s lead to 62-18 with 5:21 still remaining in the third.
“Every one knows about (Gant),” said Walker. “The skies the limit for him. He has size, the arm and is coachable. That’s my guy. I wouldn’t want any other quarterback in the state.”
A 6-3, 225-pound junior, Gant is being recruited by a number of the top college programs in the nation.
“We took tonight’s rivalry game as just a normal game,” said Gant. “We came out and did what we had to do. (In our 42-point quarter), we didn’t do anything real special. I just took what the defense gave me. We always talk about starting fast start and we have some of the best athletes in the state.”
McClintock answered Tempe’s initial score, a 5-yard run by Marcus Whitmore, with a 3-yard dash from quarterback Dominic Orona. The PAT failed and it was 7-6. After Gant’s early second quarter score, the Chargers’ Vinny Robles scored on a 92-yard kickoff return, again the point-after failed for a 14-12 score, but it was all Buffaloes after that.
It wasn’t just Gant taking charge of the offense. Kam’ron Johnson scored on a 56-yard run in the second and added a 4-yard touchdown blast before the half. He added the Buffs final score with a 2-yard run late in the third quarter and finished with 161 rushing yards on 18 carries.
Tempe 69, McClintock 38
First Downs: M 23, T 22
Rushing: M 48-305, T 31-190
Passing (comp.-att.-TD-INT): M 11-21-1-119-1, T 13-24-5-350-0
Fumbles-lost: M 2-2, T 2-2
Penalties-yards: M 15-134, T 7-60
McClintock 6 12 0 20 -- 38
Tempe 7 42 13 7 -- 69
T: Whitmore 5 run (Hernandez kick)
M: Orona 3 run (pass failed)
T: Gant 8 run (Hernandez kick)
M: Robles 92 kick return (run failed)
T: Watkins 18 pass from Gant (Hernandez kick)
T: Johnson 56 run (Hernandez kick)
T: Gomez 37 pass from Gant (Hernandez kick)
T: Smith 49 pass from Gant (Hernandez kick)
M: Vinson 53 pass from Orona (run failed)
T: Johnson 4 run (Hernandez kick)
T: Garrett 94 pass from Gant (kick failed)
T: Garrett 34 pass from Gant (Hernandez kick)
T: Johnson 2 run (Hernandez kick)
M: Arteaga 1 run (kick failed)
M: King 12 fumble return (run failed)
M: Orona 19 run (Orona run)