Tyler Bruggman was shut down and Devon Allen was nearly shut out, but despite long odds, the Brophy football team still had a chance late in its nationally televised showdown with Ranch Santa Margarita (Calif.) on Saturday night.
A blocked punt and subsequent recovery by D’Amani Grayer gave the Broncos a sliver of hope, but more than a thousand pounds of bulk bailed out the Eagles.
Santa Margarita, the nation’s top-ranked team by Rivals.com, went on a soul-crushing, six-minute drive immediately after Grayer’s big play and Johnny Stanton plunged in from three yards out with 29 seconds left to wrap up a 27-14 victory at Phoenix College.
Brophy was outclassed offensively, but the defense forced four turnovers to keep the game close, and Grayer’s heroics pulled the Broncos to within 21-14 with 6:44 remaining.
Although the star duo of Bruggman (10-of-29 for 153 yards with an interception) and Allen (two catches, 23 yards) were held in check all night, the Brophy faithful wanted them to have one more shot after Grayer’s big play. Instead, Santa Margarita’s massive offensive line pushed forward, giving running back Ryan Wolpin plenty of room to keep moving the chains and bleeding the clock.
“They just get in the way with their big bodies and frames and push you back,” linebacker Robert Relf said.
By the time the Broncos got the ball back it was too late, as Bruggman’s final pass was intercepted and Santa Margarita took a knee to run out the clock.
Brophy almost did catch a break when Eagles quarterback Johnny Stanton fumbled the ball on the team’s final drive. However, a teammate recovered and Stanton would plunge into the end zone one play later.
Stanton, who is committed to Nebraska, finished the game 12-of-20 passing for 215 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions. He also carried the ball 16 times for 92 yards and two scores.
Brophy took a 7-0 lead in the second quarter when Allen scored on an end-around from three yards out, but the Eagles answered back with two touchdowns before intermission.
The lead was pushed to 14 points when Stanton scored from six yards out on the first play of the fourth quarter, and Grayer’s touchdown was the only time Brophy would find the end zone again. The Broncos had the ball for only six minutes and nine seconds in the second half and amassed only one first down.
“We were just a little off offensively tonight,” Brophy coach Scooter Molander said.
Despite the loss, Molander was pleased with the effort his team gave against one of the nation’s premier teams.
“That’s the best football team we’ve ever seen, and we battled all the way,” he said.
Score by quarters
SM - 0 14 0 13 -- 27
Brophy - 0 7 0 7 -- 14
First downs: Santa Margarita: 23. Brophy 8.
Rushes - Yards: Santa Margarita: 42-236. Brophy: 16-57.
Comp-Att-Int: Santa Margarita: 13-21-2. Brophy: 10-29-1.
Passing Yards: Santa Margarita: 236. Brophy: 153.
Fumbles-Lost: Santa Margarita: 3-2. Brophy: 0-0.
Penalties-Yards: Santa Margarita: 10-96. Brophy: 7-30.
B - Allen 3 run, Mourikes kick
SM - Sweet 26 pass from Stanton, Ury kick
SM - Cracraft 8 pass from Stanton, Ury kick
SM - Stanton 6 run, Ury kick
B - Grayer punt block recovery in end zone, Mourikes kick
SM - Stanton 3 run, Ury kick