The three-time defending state champions seem to be catching stride at the right time.
In dominating fashion, Scottsdale Chaparral (6-3), a not-so-secure No. 12 in the latest Division II playoff seedings, beat seventh-seeded Scottsdale Horizon (7-2) 55-20 at Husky Stadium Friday.
The Firebirds, who were 1-3 after four games, won their fifth straight and were as impressive as they’ve been all season.
Senior quarterback Brad Schencker was 19-of-31 for 311 yards and six touchdowns. The Chaparral defense ran two interceptions back for touchdowns and raised havoc with Horizon quarterback Dalton Sneed – who finished 5-of-11 with three interceptions and 23 yards -- and its potent running attack all evening. The Huskies had only six first downs, three came on Chaparral penalties.
“We’ve had some speed bumps this season and I think we’re back,” said Chaparral wide receiver/linebacker Jake Roh, who had nine catches for 173 yards and three scores, as well as being one of the thorns in the Huskies offense’s side.
Chaparral led 28-7 at the half. Its defense held Horizon to only 16 first-half rushing yards on 14 carries and pressured Sneed into a 2-of-4 passing half with two interceptions and only five yards. The lone Horizon score was a 99-yard kickoff return from Ryan Neel.
Schencker threw three TD passes in each half. He connected with Roh (18 yards), Tyler Whiley (13) and Jordin Hamilton (29) in the first half, hooked up two more times with Roh (14, 70) in the second and found Whiley (24) one more time in the third quarter.
Senior defensive back Alex Arnold took a Sneed pass 57 yards for a touchdown to give the Firebirds a 21-7 first half lead. The defense wrapped up the game’s scoring when Hayden Pate grabbed a Sneed toss and raced 30 yards for a 55-20 advantage with still 1:15 left in the third quarter.
“It was a real dominant effort and it started with our defense playing lights out,” said Chaparral coach Dave Huffine. “We’ve been in a must-win mode since the (loss to Desert Mountain in Week 4). This was a great team effort. Other than the two kickoffs, there weren’t too many negative things.”
Huffine believes having so many players that have played in championship-type games was a factor in his team’s play.
“We’ve talked about our tradition and building on a legacy,” he said. “We’ve got some guys that have rings on their fingers and they know what it means to play in a big game.”
Though it was being dominated statistically, Horizon found a way to stay in the game into the third quarter.
On the first series of the second half, Schencker threw a ball up for grabs that senior defensive lineman Tom Radziszewski picked off and ran in for a 10-yard touchdown. Later in the quarter, Mark Robinson had a 73-yard kickoff return to set up a 22-yard touchdown play from Sneed to Jason McLaurin, to cut it to 34-20, but the Huskies didn’t have enough big plays to stay close to the Firebirds.
The Huskies were down Friday, but they’re not out. They’ll look to regroup going into a big game next week against Scottsdale Notre Dame Prep at Scottsdale Community College.
“We need to get back to work at practice,” said Sneed. “This one’s on me. I have to protect the ball better. You have to take better care of it to win football games.”
Chaparral 7 21 27 0 -- 55
Horizon 0 7 13 0 -- 20
First downs: C 20; H 6
Rushes-yards: C 33-187; H 30-65
Passing yards: C 319; H 23
Comp-Att-Int: C 20-34-1; H 5-11-3
Fumbles-lost: C 1-0; H 0-0
Penalties-yards: C 12-110; H 4-30
C – Roh 18 pass from Schencker (McReynolds kick)
C – Whiley 13 pass from Schencker (McReynolds kick)
H – Neel 99 kickoff return (McAtamney kick)
C – Arnold 57 interception return (McReynolds kick)
C – Hamilton 29 pass from Schencker (McReynolds kick)
H – Radziszewski 10 interception return (kick blocked)
C – Roh 14 pass from Schencker (kick blocked)
H – McLaurin 22 pss from Sneed (McAtamney kick)
C – Whiley 24 pass from Schencker (McReynolds kick)
C – Roh 70 pass from Schencker (McReynolds kick)
C – Pate 30 interception return (McReynolds kick)