Queen Creek secured the No. 4 seed for the 4A Division II state playoffs with a late-game, two-point conversion that gave it a one-point win in its regular-season finale.
The Bulldogs’ postseason run ended Friday in the state quarterfinals in the same fashion.
Phoenix Greenway quarterback Greg Walton hit receiver Ronnie Sellers in traffic with 3:22 remaining for a two-point conversion that put the Demons up 22-21.
That ended up being the final in a hard-hitting, highly entertaining contest at Queen Creek, but not before more Hollywood-esque drama played out on the gridiron.
Down to their last drive, the Bulldogs (8-4) took over at their own 1-yard line with 1:34 remaining and no timeouts. Calmly, quarterback Richie Edwards completed seven straight passes — six to receiver Joel Hanson — driving Queen Creek to the Greenway 25. After spiking the ball to stop the clock, Edwards’ next two passes were incomplete, leaving the Bulldogs with a fourth-and-10 and 33.7 seconds left.
Coach Curt LeBlanc sent in kicker D.J. Lechner to attempt a 42-yard field goal, but his try fell short, failing to clear the crossbar by inches.
“We had our shot,” LeBlanc said.
“It was set up for a perfect ending.”
The loss is the sixth in as many years in the quarterfinals for the Bulldogs. No. 5 Greenway (10-2) advances to face No. 1 seed Scottsdale Notre Dame at 7 p.m. Friday at North Canyon High School.
Moving on to the state semifinals is a huge step for a program that was 0-10 two years ago.
“I was on that team. It was tough, but we fought back,” Walton said.
Greenway fought back Friday as well, overcoming several mistakes.
Walton threw two interceptions, including one in the end zone early in the second quarter, and the Demons trailed 21-14 early in the fourth after Joel Hanson got behind the secondary and hauled in a 76-yard touchdown.
On the ensuing drive, however, Walton found Tyler Bergsten, who outjumped the defense, in the end zone on a 29-yard pass that capped a 59-yard drive and set up the winning conversion.
Edwards, who threw for only 523 yards all season, finished the night 15-of-22 passing for 276 yards and a touchdown. Hanson caught 11 of those passes for 196 yards and a score. Queen Creek’s defense sacked
Walton five times and Nikko Ramos and Iggy Castro each had a pick.