Huskies hexed no more - East Valley Tribune: VarsityXtra

Huskies hexed no more

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Posted: Saturday, December 13, 2008 12:28 am | Updated: 9:27 pm, Fri Oct 7, 2011.

Chandler Hamilton finally overcame its playoff hex vs. Phoenix Brophy, getting strong efforts from all phases of its game Friday to defeat the Broncos 17-10 in the 5A-I state championship game at University of Phoenix Stadium.

VIDEO: 5A-I state championship game

Chandler Hamilton finally overcame its playoff hex vs. Phoenix Brophy, getting strong efforts from all phases of its game Friday to defeat the Broncos 17-10 in the 5A-I state championship game at University of Phoenix Stadium.

SLIDESHOW: Brophy vs. Hamilton football

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The Huskies, who were beaten in two previous postseason games by Brophy, jumped out to a 17-0 lead, then held on in the fourth quarter to win the state title for the fourth time in the past six years (their only two non-championship years ended with losses to Brophy).

“We hadn’t beaten Brophy in a big game yet,” Hamilton coach Steve Belles said. “This is the biggest game. Beating Brophy in the finals is as big as it gets for a St. Mary’s grad.”

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Hamilton was clicking on all phases — offense, defense and special teams — for the better part of three quarters.

The Huskies’ offense cranked out two scoring drives in the first half, the defense kept Brophy’s offense in check until the final quarter, and a 96-yard kickoff return for a touchdown to begin the second half helped Hamilton build the big lead.

Senior safety Ryan Milus’ kick return 14 seconds into the third quarter proved to be the game-winner.

“You can’t give a guy like that an opportunity,” Brophy coach Scooter Molander said. “He’s not a 100-meter champion for nothing.”

The title is Hamilton’s fourth in its 10-year history and first since 2006.

The Huskies finished the season 13-1 losing only to 5A-II champ Peoria Centennial and winning their final 11 games. Brophy had a nine-game winning streak snapped and finished 11-4.

But defending champ Brophy didn’t give up its throne easily. The Broncos managed a grind-it-out 13-play drive late in the third period and netted a 43-yard field goal from kicker Nick Ayers to pull within 17-3.

Then the Broncos forced Hamilton to punt on a three-and-out the next series and hearkened back to 2005 by marching 93 yards in 12 plays for their first touchdown, a determined 9-yard run by running back Max Leonesio. With 8:38 left in the game, the Broncos were within a TD of tying the score.

Hamilton’s defense, roughed up in the second half by Brophy, got a pair of huge plays from junior safety Devon Carrington to thwart a late Brophy march.

Carrington blitzed and sacked quarterback Sam Quinif for an 11-yard loss after the Broncos had a first down at the Hamilton 30. A tackle for a loss by linebacker Anthony Jones led to fourth down and Brophy’s final hope. Carrington knocked away a desperation throw by Quinif to end the drive.

Hamilton’s Zach Bauman ran 13 yards with one minute left to get a game-sealing first down and Hamilton clutched its first postseason win over Brophy.

“We had opportunities,” Molander said. “We made too many mistakes in the first half. Missed blocks, missed assignments, tackles. Too many mistakes on offense and defense..”

“We fought, they fought, it was a great high school football game,” Belles said. “Holding them to 10 points in two games is outstanding. Our defense rose to the occasion. Our defense won the championship.”

Hamilton dominated the first half and looked as though it was the team that had made the most progress since their first meeting Sept. 5.

The Huskies’ second possession of the game resulted in a seven-play, 72-yard scoring drive for the first points of the contest. Hamilton used four runs and three passes with the scoring play a 4-yard pass from Zakary Hambsch to tight end Tim Fowler with 11:55 left in the second period.

Hamilton threw often on its first possession with Hambsch completing 4 of 5 passes for 51 yards. He had 101 yards through the first quarter and five seconds of the second period. Hambsch and backup quarterback Travis Dean combined to throw to seven different receivers in the first 24 minutes when the Huskies held a 134-38 edge passing.

Overall Hamilton held a 231-83 yardage advantage at intermission.

Hambsch accounted for 228 yards of offense, 160 passing and 68 rushing, but also turned the ball over three times (two interceptions and one fumble). Leonesio, who rushed for 43 yards the first time the teams met, finished with 94 yards on 25 rushes.

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[Stats Courtesy of MaxPreps]