Looks of exhilaration filled the faces of the St. Mary’s players as they met in a giant mosh pit at Phoenix College's midfield when the game clock finally hit zero.
The Knights had finally ended Brophy’s seven-year streak in the schools’ rivalry series. And they did it with a heart-stopping, drama-filled 16-13 win on Friday night.
“For me, biggest win ever. No doubt about it,” St. Mary’s coach Eddy Zubey said. “For us, it’s just a football game and it’s against Brophy and we understand that. But for us and our school, it’s bigger for the alumni, the morale of the school, everything like that.”
After Brophy trailed the entire game, a shanked St. Mary's punt put the Broncos (2-1) in position to tie or win the game at the Knights’ 23-yard line with 1:50 left in the game.
A 12-yard pass from Tyler Bruggman to Frederick Gammage put the Broncos on the 11-yard line. Three incomplete passes led to a fourth-and-10. After sending out the field goal unit, Brophy decided to try to get a first down.
“We had no clue. We had our field goal block team as our defense so we wanted to call a timeout to make sure we had everyone covered on the field goal block,” Zubey said.
Bruggman’s fourth-down pass fell incomplete, bringing a loud eruption of cheers from the St. Mary’s crowd.
“We had a certain blitz I was working on all night and we called it and it worked out," Zubey said.
Patrick Barefield, a two-way starter and one of the few seniors on the team, knew just how big of a victory this was for the Knights (1-2).
“It was good now that the streak is over and we don’t have to worry about outsiders trying to get in our heads talking about Brophy," he said. "Hopefully we can ride out the rest of the season on this momentum."
Barefield came up with two big plays on both sides of the ball for the Knights. He scored the first touchdown of the game and also picked off Bruggman on the Knights’ 22-yard line to stop a Brophy drive.
“He’s our guy and it’s good to see him perform when it comes down to it,” Zubey said.
Junior running back Orange Mooney also provided a spark for the St. Mary’s offense. Mooney returned to the field after dealing with the death of his mother, and helped a struggling Knights offense control the ball in the second half.
Mooney also scored the eventual game-winning touchdown on a 3-yard run.
“Our game plan going in was to give the ball to Orange and at halftime they told me he only had two carries,” Zubey said. “The good thing is that maybe he had fresh legs and was able to hit the corners.”
Special teams also came up with a couple of big plays for St. Mary’s. The biggest came at the end of the first half when sophomore Priest Willis blocked Mario Martinez’s 42-yard field goal attempt at the end of the half.