Another week, another mid-game quarterback change for Chaparral. And for the second week in a row, the change led to a come from behind victory, as the Firebirds rallied to defeat Mesquite 40-20 on Friday.
Last week it was Brad Schencker who started the game, only to be replaced by Sean Paul Brophy. This week, Brophy started the game, but was replaced midway through the second quarter by Schencker, who played the part of hero this week in rallying Chaparral (4-3) to victory.
“It’s one where you’re gonna go with the hot hand,” coach Dave Huffine said. “We were going with Brophy because of the way he played at the end of the game last week, but he’ll play again. It’s just a situation where these guys are in a spot where they feel they have to play perfect, but they are both learning on the job. We just have to make sure that at that position we are getting better. Tonight, it was Schencker.”
The Wildcats (1-6) actually started out the game strong, moving the ball well on their opening drive only to have a 34-yard field goal attempt by Jerrod James blocked. On Chaparral’s first play, however, Brophy was intercepted by Juan Giraldo. Mesquite took advantage of the turnover scoring on a 33-yard touchdown run by Paul Perry on a 4th-and-inches play to take a 6-0 lead.
The Firebirds settled down on offense after that, scoring on a 37-yard field goal by Sam McReynolds on their ensuing drive to cut the lead to 6-3. The Wildcats attempted a fake punt on their next drive, but did not convert on the attempt. Chaparral took advantage and took a 10-7 lead on a 7-yard pass from Brophy to Jake Roh, who had a big night catching six passes for 90 yards and three touchdowns.
On the Firebirds’ next possession, however, Brophy was intercepted again by Giraldo, who this time returned it 52 yards for a touchdown to give Mesquite a 13-10 lead. That miscue marked the end of the night for Brophy, who finished just 3 of 7 for 23 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions.
“It’s just what we’re seeing and what we saw on film,” Huffine said. “There were things that needed to be corrected. I’m talking to Schencker on the sideline and that’s kind of what it’s been like these last few weeks. I’ve got the sideline to talk to the quarterback and he sees what I’m seeing and can make the necessary adjustments.”
Schencker entered the game and did not have an immediate impact, missing on his first three attempts and leading two three-and-outs before halftime. Chaparral did go into the half with a 17-13 lead, however, thanks to an 85-yard interception return for touchdown by Alex Arnold.
Schencker, contrary to what one might think, claimed it wasn’t difficult coming off the bench. “I’d like to say it was difficult, but it’s really not. Sean Paul (Brophy) did a great job. He’s young and he’s going to get way better. All week, we’ve been going back and forth with it. It’s really just easy when you have coaches like this preparing all week for what we do.”
The Firebirds made some adjustments at halftime and Schencker looked like a different quarterback in the second half. He finished 8-of-13 for 110 yards, ran for 49 yards, and hooked up with Roh twice for scores. Schencker led four total scoring drives in the second half and Chaparral turned the game into a rout.
“Our o-line made some adjustments, our running backs started to run harder, and we just took over,” Schencker said of the adjustments made at halftime.
Chaparral 3 14 13 10 - 40
Mesquite 6 7 7 0 - 20
First Downs- Chaparral- 18 Mesquite-8
Rushing- Chaparral- 37-218 Mesquite- 27-122
Comp-Att-Int Chaparral- 11-20-2 Mesquite- 9-25-2
Passing yards- Chaparral- 133 Mesquite-110
Fumbles-Lost Chaparral- 1-1 Mesquite 1-0
Penalties-Yards Chaparral- 12-105 Mesquite- 8-80
M- Perry 33 run (kick fail)
C- McReynolds 37 FG
C- Roh 7 pass from Brophy (McReynolds kick)
M- Giraldo 52 interception return (James kick)
C- Arnold 85 interception return (McReynolds kick)
C- Roh 23 pass from Schencker (kick blocked)
C- Paniagua 22 run (McReynolds kick)
M- Perry 75 pass from Haslam (James kick)
C- Roh 30 pass from Schencker (McReynolds kick)
C- McReynolds 48 FG