Sande Sez- Postcard from under the Friday Night Lights- PLAYOFFS

Greeting from Peoria. First, I’d like to congratulate every team this year for fighting through a very tough season. Also, to all of those teams who had their season cut short or taken away from them due to these unprecedented times we live in, I am so sorry you had your season cut short. I am heartbroken for you all. Proud of you all for keeping your heads up. There is so much to be thankful for. 

My first stop, Centennial to see the Coyotes take on the Liberty Lions. Liberty took this one 25-24. What a game it was. Centennial should be so proud of the season they had. The Coyotes fought through adversity after adversity each week. Their senior quarterback, Joshua Gaska, battled back after missing last week’s game against Liberty and returned to lead his team in his final high school game. This was a defensive battle down to the last play of the game.

Tied score as they went into the half, 10-10. Both teams hungry out of the half, the Lions scored first to make it 17-10, and then the Coyotes answered right back with back to back touchdowns. The Centennial coaching staff did a great job making half-time adjustments and got their passing game in the mix in the third quarter. In the end, it was the Lions who came out victorious with a little over a minute left in the game; they tied it up and went up by two with a trick play for the two-point conversion. Liberty moves on to the Open Divison Semifinal to take on the Chandler Wolves.  Thank you to Coach Taylor and Coach Thomas for talking with me before and during the game. 

A must stop to see Ironwood take on Desert Mountain, where Ironwood got their first playoff win since 2005. The Eagles trailed 27-7 at the half and went on to win 35-30. Talk about a second-half comeback. Lead by their senior quarterback and San Diego State commit Will Haskell, who had himself a night and was able to help his team to victory. Haskell, in the final 15 minutes, caught a touchdown pass, ran in two more, and then threw the game-winning TD.  As JustChilly calls him, “Westside Willy” getting it done. Congrats to the Eagles on their Playoff win! Off to the 5A Semifinals to play Notre Dame Prep. 

 

In one of the exciting 6A matchups, we head to Queen Creek High School to see the Bulldogs host the Chaparral Firebirds.

Queen Creek came out of the gate like a bullet, with Davey Morales taking the opening kick 80 yards for a touchdown. Bulldogs on track to blow out the Firebirds? Guess again, it would be the last time Queen Creek got on the scoreboard; it was all Chaparral from there- the Jared Williams/ Breyton Silbor Show. Williams ran well and ran often, finding the end zone three times, while Silbor kept the Queen Creek defense off balance all night, putting together several strong drives.

The Bulldogs had a chance to make some noise as running back Payton Barlow took a carry from his own 1-yard line and made his way to the right sideline, and scampered for what would look like a sure 99-yard touchdown only to have it stripped from behind 10 yards away from pay dirt. The ball rolled into the end zone, and the Firebirds recovered for a touchback- momentum crushed.

Final score- 26-8, Chaparral. The Firebirds get ready to take on Sandra Day O’Connor in the 6A Semifinals.

Congrats to all of the teams moving on and all of the teams who fought so hard all season. You should all be so proud. This season made you stronger physically and mentally with everything you all had to overcome. I applaud you. 

 

See you all next week!