For so long, the Chandler Wolves football program seemed to a sleeping giant. There was plenty of talent coming through, but they couldn’t quite get over the hump.
That sleeping giant woke up a few years ago, and apparently it’s had a Red Bull or 10.
The Wolves won their third state title in four years on Saturday and have now gone back-to-back after defeating Perry 49-42 in the 6A state championship.
“That was a shoot-out, and I think I had a heart attack,” Chandler head coach Shaun Aguano said. “Perry played a heck of a ballgame. I think our kids made plays at the end to solidify it. I give that on our coaches and our players. I’m just lucky to have my coaching staff and what they do day-in and day-out.”
It was balance and depth for the Wolves – a familiar sight for Chandler programs over the years – that led to their victory. Running back Drake Anderson was an absolute workhorse, getting 37 carries for 191 yards and three touchdowns. Quarterback Jacob Conover threw for 446 yards and four touchdowns. Three receivers caught those touchdowns and also went over 100 yards receiving in Gunner Romney (8 catches, 140 yards, two touchdowns), Jarick Caldwell (6 catches, 150 yards, one touchdown) and Brayden Liebrock (five catches, 113 yards, one touchdown).
Defensively, the Wolves tallied two sacks and five tackles for loss.
“It’s a dynasty now,” Romney said. “Back-to-back, that’s now three in the last four years. Next year, I think they’re going to be just as good as us this year. I hate to say that because I’m a senior going out but they’re going to be great next year too.”
On the Other Side
The Perry Pumas came out swinging and did not stop until the clock hit zero. Quarterback Brock Purdy wrapped up his record-setting high school career by throwing for 322 yards and five touchdowns and rushing for 131 yards and another touchdown. Both the Wolves and the Pumas return a ton of talent next year, and Aguano even hinted at future battles when the two go head-to-head.