A game that appeared to be turning into a classic shootout turned into a relatively comfortable 52-35 Chandler win over visiting Corona del Sol on Friday night.
The Wolves (6-2) trailed 21-16 at halftime but came out more focused on defense in the second half and pulled away from the Aztecs (3-5).
It was a back-and-forth game for the first two-plus quarters, with both teams providing an answer to their opponents' scoring drives. There was not a single punt in the first half, and the only thing preventing a score on every drive for both teams in the first half was an offensive pass interference call just before halftime on a fourth-and-long pass. The pass was caught in the end zone by Dionte Sykes but was brought back on the infraction.
“If we play like that on defense, we will not go very far in the playoffs, so I am very concerned about that.” Chandler coach Shaun Aguano said.
The Wolves continued their offensive success on the first drive of the second half and retook the lead on a 69-yard touchdown pass from Darell Garretson to Cooper Burton. A 3-yard touchdown run by Evan Kinney briefly put the Aztecs back on top, but back-to-back scores by Chandler would give the Wolves the first two-score lead of the game heading into the fourth quarter. And in the final frame, the Chandler defense finally put together enough stops to put things away.
“We had a great game plan but had a few mental mistakes and could not stop them on defense," Corona coach Tom Joseph said. "We are trying to get our kids to be really disciplined. Some are getting it, some aren’t."
James Contes had a dominant first half for the Aztecs, rushing for 217 yards and a 54-yard touchdown that opened the game's scoring. He was held to just 10 yards rushing in the second half, and as the Chandler lead grew, his carries were limited as Corona was forced to go to the air.
Garretson, Kabian Evans and Myles Smith each rushed for two touchdowns and Garretson threw for another for Chandler. The Wolves have averaged 51.5 points per game in their six wins.
Chandler 52, Corona del Sol 35
Corona 7 14 7 7 - 35
Chandler 6 10 22 14 - 52
CdS - Contes 54 run (kick good)
Chandler - Evans 19 run (kick failed)
Chandler - Knudson 24 FG
CdS - Kinney 20 run (kick good)
Chandler - Garretson 20 run (kick good)
CdS- Brown 28 run (kick good)
Chandler - Burton 69 pass from Garretson (Sykes pass from Garretson)
CdS - Kinney 3 run (kick good)
Chandler - Evans 31 run (kick good)
Chandler - Garretson 5 run (kick good)
Chandler - Smith 3 run (kick good)
CdS - Fishburn 53 pass from Kinney (kick good)
Chandler - Smith 1 run (kick good)