The Chandler Wolves were in unfamiliar territory under Rick Garretson on Friday night – they were coming off a loss. The Wolves lost for the first time since Garretson took over as a head coach entering the 2019 season. They had faced plenty of adversity in previous years, but it never showed up in the loss column until the final week of the 2021 regular season against rival Hamilton.
Now that the Wolves were in the Open Division bracket as the No. 2 seed, they were determined to get back to their winning ways and did just that against Queen Creek on Friday night. While the offense moved the ball pretty well in the first half, Queen Creek took advantage of prime field position and converted two fourth downs into two touchdowns, taking a 21-14 lead into halftime.
The Wolves responded by outscoring the Bulldogs 34-7 in the second half and winning the game 48-28. Now, Chandler will host No. 6 Liberty, who upset No. 3 Basha on Friday night. The Wolves and Lions are no strangers to each other. Chandler beat Liberty 41-21 earlier this year. The Lions gave the Wolves all they could handle in the Open Division semifinal in 2020. Chandler squeaked out a 35-34 overtime win before beating Hamilton in the finals and taking the Open Division crown.
Now, as the Wolves prep for the rest of their Open Division run, Garretson made it clear where their focus needs to be: “Us.”