At 5-1, Avondale Westview was barely in the top 20 in power points. At 5-2, Phoenix Brophy was still widely seen as a state title contender.
Brophy (6-2, 5-1) held off host Westview (5-2, 5-0) 35-21 in a nonsection Division I game Friday night, but the Knights hung around until the end and proved in the process that they are for real.
“They played a very good game tonight, and so did we,” said Brophy coach Scooter Molander. “They kept fighting.”
Things went as expected in the first minute of the game. In just 54 seconds, Brophy drove 80 yards in three plays, with Marche Dennard scoring on a 40-yard touchdown run.
Westview answered with a score of its own, as quarterback Kordell Provchy hit Isaiah Burks on a 36-yard pass to tie the score at 7-7.
Tied at the end of one quarter, many eyebrows were raised.
The second quarter was a different story. Brophy collected another touchdown from Dennard before Clarence Clark scored twice in the quarter, one on a 13-yard-run and the other on a 59-yard pass from Tyler Bruggman.
Westview did add a score of its own, but Brophy appeared to be in control at the half with a 27-14 lead.
The Knights began the second half with an extraordinarily impressive drive. Westview marched 80 yards in 17 plays, taking more than 10 minutes off the clock. On the drive, Westview converted three third downs and two fourth downs. The march culminated in Provchy’s 4-yard fourth-down touchdown run, making the score 27-21.
Brophy was forced to punt on its ensuing drive. Westview answered with another long drive, much like the one that started the second half. Nearing midfield, the Knights were eight plays and nearly six minutes into what was potentially a game-winning drive when Brophy’s Zach Kotoske intercepted a Provchy pass.
“They were rarely passing,” Kotoske said. “On that play, I told my boy (a teammate) that the ball was coming right here. It worked out.”
Three plays after the interception, Bruggman hit Dennard on a 9-yard pass to give the Broncos a 35-21 lead with just under two minutes left in the game.
"I’m proud of our guys,” Molander said. “Our guys stayed in the moment. No one panicked.”
Brophy 7 20 0 8 – 35
Westview 7 7 7 0 – 21
First Downs: Brophy 12, Westview 17
Rushing: Brophy 19-138, Westview 49-258
Comp-Att-Int: Brophy 11-17-0, Westview 5-12-2
Passing Yards: Brophy 204, Westview 82
Fumbles-Lost: Brophy 0-0, Westview 1-1
Penalties-Yards: Brophy 5-45, Westview 4-40
B – Dennard 40 run (Mourikes kick)
W – Burks 36 pass from Provchy (Valdez-Paz kick)
B – Clark 13 run (kick blocked)
B – Dennard 4 run (Mourikes kick)
W – Provchy 2 run (Valdez-Paz kick)
B – Clark 59 pass from Bruggman (Mourikes kick)
W – Provchy 4 run (Valdez-Paz kick)
B – Dennnard 9 pass from Bruggman (Clark pass from Bruggman)