Peoria Centennial and Brophy are going in the opposite direction right now.
Centennial displayed a dominant defense and power ground game Thursday while Brophy’s offense sputtered as the Coyotes toppled the Broncos, 17-13, at Phoenix College.
“We made some good adjustments at halftime and the kids just played harder and better,” Centennial coach Richard Taylor said. “We were fortunate to get away with the victory.”
Brophy (1-2) starting quarterback Brian Woodward stood helplessly on the sidelines with a broken bone in his left hand as he watched his teammates earn just one first down in the second half. After suffering a broken hand late last week against Hamilton, Woodward was replaced by sophomore Cade Knox, who completed 9-of-22 passes for 102 yards while being intercepted once.
“We put too much on (Cade’s) shoulders and I take responsibility for that,” Brophy coach Scooter Molander said. “We need to get a lot better on offense – simple as that.”
Brophy built a 13-7 halftime lead when Knox found Isaiah Oliver for a 50-yard TD pass early in the second quarter and converted a late Centennial fumble deep in its own territory into a 2-yard TD run by Will Edwards.
“We were pretty miserable in the first half offensively,” Taylor said. “We shot ourselves in the foot over and over. It was ridiculous.”
In all, the Coyotes lost four fumbles including two in Brophy territory.
But Centennial (2-1) was a different team following halftime and started the second half with a big 72-yard pass play to Tyler Simpson that set up a 1-yard Dedrick Young TD run.
Following that score, Centennial’s defense went to work pressuring and frustration the Brophy offense. Quentin Gomez intercepted a pass and Young produced a sack to end Bronco drives.
“We came out with a great defensive stand,” Gomez said. “We were hungry.”
Centennial’s ground game came took over as the Coyotes used the combination of Young (20 carries, 155 yards) and Matt Rodriguez (25-160).
“We wanted to tick down the clock,” Young said. “We used ground and pound to finish off the game.”
The final blow to any Brophy comeback came when Centennial began the game’s final drive with 7:16 remaining at its own 10. The Coyotes used 14 consecutive runs, including a Young 34-yard run with 13 seconds remaining to seal the victory.
“At the start of the fourth quarter we said offensive line it is on you guys and they responded,” Taylor said.
Rodriguez had a 1-yard TD run in the first quarter while Joe Navarro made a 26-yard field goal late in the third to extend the Coyotes lead to 17-13.
Centennial 17, Brophy 13
Centennial 0 7 10 0 – 17
Brophy 0 13 0 0 – 13
First Downs: Centennial 21, Brophy 6
Rushing: Centennial 49-319, Brophy 15-17
Comp-Att-Int: Centennial 3-11-0-1, Brophy 9-22-1-1
Passing Yards: Centennial 85, Brophy 102
Fumbles-Lost: Centennial 4-4, Brophy 2-0
Penalties-Yards: Centennial 4-50, Brophy 3-25
B – Oliver 50 pass from Knox (pass failed)
C – Rodriguez 1 run (Navarro kick)
B – Edwards 2 run (Mourikes kick)
C – Young 1 run (Navarro kick)
C – Navarro 26 FG