By Gabrielle Mercer
It was a cloudy day Saturday afternoon in Scottsdale, perfect weather for an upset.
Third-seeded Thatcher High defeated top-seed Eager Round Valley at Chaparral High School 33-28 to clinch the 2A State Championship.
After building a 14-0 lead by the second quarter, the Elks were in the driver’s seat with momentum on their side – after all, they were able to glide through playoffs shutting out two of their three opponents.
The Eagles (12-2), on the other hand, slid through the playoffs by the skin of their teeth – qualifying for the championship game by one point.
Given all that adversity, Thatcher quarterback Jake Dunlap wasn’t ready to see his team’s season end here.
He answered back with two touchdowns in the second quarter, cutting the Elks’ (13-1) lead to one point following a botched extra point attempt.
Thatcher’s resilience continued to show, as the team continued to battle and proved they belonged on the same field as Round Valley. Both team’s traded blows to start the second half, still, the Eagles continued to answer the Elks and maintained the lead.
A touchdown run from Nathan Lee sealed the deal at the end of the fourth – and that was all she wrote as Thatcher not only claimed a state title, but atoned a 28-21 loss to Round Valley on October 14th.
Thatcher Head coach Sean Hinton explained to Sports360AZ.com that he and his team entered the game with a positive outlook.
“We just had to weather the storm and just do what we do no matter what happened – just try to be us.”