Both Chandler and Hamilton were dominant in their quarterfinal match-ups, earning the opportunity for a semifinal rematch of the streak-busting 26-16 Wolves victory back on October 4th, while Seton Catholic needed a last second interception to seal a victory against a gritty Winslow team, and will be playing for a chance to get back to the Division IV Championship on Saturday, 11/23 against River Valley.
Many regarded the 49-7 Chandler win over Basha in week 8 to be somewhat of a fluke. Basha hadn’t been held to single digits in a loss since 2009, and while Chandler clearly seemed like the better team on paper, could they really destroy the Bears in consecutive games? Apparently, the answer is yes. Chandler was up 35-0 on the Bears at the end of the first quarter on Friday, and 49-0 at halftime. Bryce Perkins threw two touchdown passes, and ran for four scores as well, bringing his season totals to 24 TDs through the air, and 17 on the ground. Basha had three garbage time rushing scores to make the final score 49-21, and finishes their season at a disappointing 6-6 (the first time the Bears have ever finished without a winning record).
Hamilton had an impressive showing against Brian Lewerke and Pinnacle, interception him three times and putting up 20 in the third quarter to secure a 40-14 victory. Hamilton struggled at times, fumbling the ball four times, and losing two of them, but the Husky defense created multiple turnovers to make up for the errors. Tyrell Smith had 135 yards rushing and three scores, and Elijah Williams added 154 yards receiving and three total touchdowns (one rushing) in the win.
Chandler and Hamilton will square off against each other at Highland- the site of the Huskies 2012 semifinal victory over Desert Ridge. While Chandler broke Hamilton’s 17 game winning streak earlier in the season, the Huskies still hold a 3-0 playoff record against the Wolves, including two shutouts. Both teams are healthy and performing at peak levels, and it should be an incredible game.
Seton Catholic could not run the ball against Winslow, and gave up nearly 300 yards on the ground to one player. Still, they managed to build a second half lead behind the arm of Kyle Johnson, and they’d need that lead to survive a furious last minute comeback by the Bulldogs that ended with a last-second interception in the end zone by the Sentinels’ Patrick Larsen. After the 27-20 win, a beat-up Sentinels team who withstood 39 carries and 294 yards from bruising RB Kelly Wood was informed that River Valley High had upset #3 Snowflake, who had been Seton Catholic’s only loss. “We don’t know anything about River Valley,” said SCP OL/DL Stephen Fugger. “Then again, we didn’t know anything about Winslow either.”
The Sentinels are playing on Saturday for a chance to defend their 2012 championship, and to continue the recent success they’ve had under coach Rex Bowser, who is 26-3 since the 2011 season, after having gone 14-19 in his first three years. River Valley comes in at 11-1, and will make the long trip to North Canyon High from Mohave Valley to try and dethrone last year’s champions.