With several schools on fall break it wasn’t the busiest #FridayNight360AZ but there were still plenty of things which caught my attention around the Valley on a picturesque Friday night.
Father Knows Best
It’s been a frustrating several weeks for Chandler star defensive end/outside linebacker Brandon Buckner. The junior has been rounding back into form after missing most of this season with an ankle injury.
This past week Brandon’s father, former Arizona Cardinals — now Oakland Raiders assistant coach Brentson Buckner returned to the Valley during the team’s bye week to not only talk to the Wolves’ team, but give his son a little extra motivation for the stretch run of the season.
Coach Brentson Buckner of the Oakland Raiders talked to the football team today about building strong character. It was both moving and meaningful. pic.twitter.com/kQ6Xp2vyqp
— CHS Athletics (@SOC_CHSWOLVES) October 11, 2019
“He told me to just be myself,” Buckner said to me after CHS’s 49-0 stomping of Brophy. “Be the best version of me and give 110 percent because you never know when it’s going to be your last play. So just go out there with a bang.”
— Eric Sorenson (@EricSports360AZ) October 12, 2019
Buckner took his old man’s words to heart against BCP.
Cream Of The Crop
It’s still to be determined which teams will make up the first-ever open division playoff in the coming weeks but you’re going to be hard-pressed to convince me right now there’s any other team to beat than Chandler.
Rick Garretson’s offense toyed with the Broncos’ stout defense–setting the tone before the game even started.
Chandler won the coin toss and elected to receive. The Wolves wasted no time marching down the field on their opening possession and taking an early 7-0 lead on the first of Dae Dae Hunter’s three touchdown runs.
A 21-0 halftime cushion ballooned to a 49-0 running clock blowout of a then-undefeated team.
“The only team that can beat us is ourselves,” Buckner said.
He’ll get no argument from me after what I witnessed Friday night at Phoenix College.
Game of the night took place in north Scottsdale where Horizon topped unbeaten Notre Dame Prep 35-34 in double overtime.
The loss was the Saints’ first regular season setback in 32 games and likely ended their chances of playing in the Open Eight. It was also NDP’s first home setback since September of 2015.
Final: Horizon 35, Notre Dame 34 (Double OT)
Notre Dame’s first loss on Bemis Field since the first time they played here. pic.twitter.com/bIUD9cWqq7
— ArizonaVarsity.com ???? (@AZHSFB) October 12, 2019
After a blocked extra point by Huskies’ nose guard Elijah Mursalat, Avery Lambert caught a 10-yard touchdown to tie the game before sophomore Grady Gross’s successful PAT sent the Horizon players and coaches spilling onto Bemis Field in celebration.
“We talked about being on the ‘menu’ the last three weeks but wanting a seat at the table,” Horizon head coach Ty Wisdom said to me referring to the Open Eight. “Now that they have that we need to get better this week against a sold Cactus Shadows team.”
With the victory, Horizon improves to 6-1 with winnable games against the above mentioned Cactus Shadows, Paradise Valley and Desert Mountain to end the season.
NDP drops to 7-1.
Three and Out
Three scores which caught my eye from Week Seven.
1. Seton Catholic pulls away from Arcadia 20-6.
I warned you several weeks ago 2019 could be a mirror image of 2018 for Kerry Taylor’s squad. Sure, the Titans are vastly improved with a number of playmakers but after five-straight wins against lesser competition, Arcadia is now 5-3.
— Seton Catholic Athletics (@SCPAthletics) October 12, 2019
After falling behind 6-0, the host Sentinals reeled off 20 unanswered points behind a pair of Mikey Castro touchdown runs.
2. Chaparral holds off O’Connor 35-31.
It was good seeing the return of Jack Miller who threw three touchdown passes, two to fellow senior star Tommy Christakos, as the Firebirds got a turnover on downs late and ran out the clock to improve to 5-2.
Chap has won three-straight and seems to getting healthy at the right time considering they end the season against Pinnacle and Liberty after a trip to Ahwatukee to take on struggling Mountain Pointe next week.
3. Salpointe throttles Casa Grande 59-21.
This score isn’t a surprise by any means but I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the fact Bijan Robinson had another huge night for the Lancers rushing for six touchdowns (33, 1, 33, 25, 43 and 41 yards).
SCLancerNation – Bijan just dropped the handoff, picked it up, ran 43 yrds and scored his 5th touch down of the game. pic.twitter.com/bLtwuJEF8s
— LancerNation (@SCLancerNation) October 12, 2019
It will be fun to watch Robinson and Stevie Rocker tote the mail next week when Canyon del Oro makes the short trip to Salpointe in what I expect to be an excellent game.