The last time Tempe Prep lost was a shutout to Phoenix Northwest Christian in Week 3.
My, how things have changed.
After starting 0-3 and being outscored 90-0, the Knights are on a roll, clicking off eight straight wins. Tempe Prep avenged the loss and knocked off the defending-state-champion-Crusaders, 21-0, Saturday in the opening round of the Division V playoffs.
The Knights, seeded 12th, play at fourth-seeded Eagar Round Valley next Saturday at 6 p.m. in the quarterfinals.
"Northwest has been our nemesis since we came from eight man football," Tempe Prep coach Tom Brittain said. "It's a great victory for our program. The first time we played them our offensive line stunk it up. Tonight the O-line and our defense were tremendous. We didn't know how good we were then. Pulling off the win over Scottsdale Prep last week and now this, the kids believe."
The Knights set the tone after the opening kickoff. They went on a time-consuming, 18-play, 78-yard drive. Among the 16 runs in those 18 plays, sophomore Isaiah Brittain bulldozed seven yards to the 1-yard line, then Ben LeBeau capped it off on a quarterback keeper with 3:37 left in the opening quarter.
Tempe Prep then forced the Crusaders to punt after a quick three-and-out. The Knights pounded the ball rushing most of the night, but pulled out a trick play to set up the next touchdown.
Dane Steadman threw a halfback option pass hitting Daniel Hiser for a 38-yard gain. Isaiah Brittain followed with a 16-yard touchdown run, and the Knights stunned the Crusaders with a 14-0 lead on the second play of the second quarter.
The Knights dominated the time of possession running 31 plays to only 13 for the Crusaders and holding them to 31 total offensive yards in the first half.
"We didn't get it done. (Tempe Prep) just punched us in the mouth early," Northwest Christian coach Dave Inness said. "Our scheme was right, we just could never get the ball back."
Tempe Prep added a touchdown in the third quarter for its 21-0 cushion. Gabriel LeBeau intercepted a pass for the Knights at their own 46-yard line. Isaiah Brittain converted a pair of third downs into first down, then hit paydirt from five yards out with 5:15 left in the third quarter.
Tempe Prep's defense followed with a big goal-line stand to preserve the shutout.
Isaiah Brittain came out of the game in the third quarter with an injury after rushing for 121 yards on 18 carries. His brother, junior Zachariah Brittain, picked up the slack running the ball to drain the clock.
"He was injured on the leg, but he will be fine," Zackariah Brittain said. "We knew we could drive and defend and it clicked and was a huge win for us with a team that has been to the state championship three times. Early in the season we just didn't have a offense and we have hit a stride and don't feel like ending this winning streak now of seven in a row."
The Crusaders finished the season 8-3, while Tempe Prep's magical turnaround continues.
"We just overcame adversity after that 28-0 loss," said Alek Rodriquez, who made a key stop on fourth-and-short in the third quarter. "I knew they were coming to the 'A' gap and I just took them out."
Tempe Prep 21, Northwest Christian 0
First Downs: TP 16, NWC 9
Rushing: TP 46-224, NWC 21-53
Passing (comp-att-yards-INT-TD): TP 2-6-46-0-0, NWC 11-18-93-1-0
Fumbles-Lost: TP 1-0, NWC 1-0
Penalties-Yards: TP 8-74, NWC 4-40
Tempe Prep 7 7 7 0 - 21
NW Christian 0 0 0 0 - 0
TP: B. LeBeau 1 run (Wiese kick)
TP: I. Brittain 16 run (Wiese kick)
TP: I. Brittain 5 run (Wiese kick)