By Carson Field
For much of Desert Vista’s first-round matchup against Basha, the Thunder struggled to gain separation from their visitors. But one play changed everything.
With less than a minute remaining in the third quarter, senior running back Tyson Grubbs found a gap and cruised to the end zone. This score gave the Thunder a 24-20 lead with just over 15 minutes remaining.
They didn’t look back.
Three pick sixes and 28 points later, Desert Vista sealed its 52-26 win. Ranked No. 6 in the 6A playoffs, the Thunder will face No. 3 Perry in the quarterfinals on Friday.
Here’s a preview of that contest by the numbers:
Against Basha, Desert Vista’s defense forced pick sixes on back-to-back-to-back possessions. The yardage on those takeaways totaled 152.
Before this string of interceptions, the Thunder led by just 11 points. It was this elite effort from the secondary that slammed the nail in the coffin.
In Perry’s 38-25 win over Mountain Ridge in round one, senior quarterback Chubba Purdy logged four total touchdowns: two passing, two rushing. In 10 games behind center, Purdy has notched 44 total scores.
A four-star dual-threat prospect, Purdy is committed to Louisville. The matchup between him and Desert Vista’s secondary will be one to watch,
In addition to the defense’s efficient game, Desert Vista’s run game didn’t face much traction in round one. Between Tyson and Devon Grubbs, Colby Humphrey and Parker Navarro, the Thunder averaged 12 yards per carry.
Though Navarro, the starting quarterback, has shown prowess in the pocket, if the rushing attack can be this productive, it takes some pressure off of him and makes Desert Vista’s offense more dynamic.
Perry defensive back Kobe Rome returned an interception 97 yards for the first points of the Mountain Ridge game. The pick was one of two for Rome this season and the eighth for Perry.
While both squads have experienced signal callers behind center, the teams’ athletic secondaries creates an interesting battle for Friday’s game.