ALA Gilbert North wins first state title in program history

Video by Claudia Collins

Hear from the players and HC Randy Ricedorff in the clip above.

The fans at Sun Devil Stadium got a show for the 4A State Championship game.

In a contest that featured ALA Gilbert North taking on Snowflake, it was a classic air raid takes on ground game matchup. 

At first, the evening was leaning in Snowflake’s favor as the Lobos’ ground and pound method helped them scratch first.

As soon as ALA Gilbert North found its groove, however, the Eagles truly took flight.

They rattled off 28 straight points behind their dynamic duo of senior QB Adam Damante and junior WR Brandon Phelps.

“It means a lot cause there’s a great group that’s been together for four years,” Damante said. “Now to finally have it pay off is crazy. It’s unbelievable.”

Damante and Phelps connected for two passing touchdowns, while Damante kept several drives alive with his feet.

The 59 passing touchdowns for Damante puts him at 5th all time for single-season TD’s in Arizona, just ahead of 49ers quarterback Brock Purdy.

“He’s the most underrated quarterback I’ve ever seen,” Phelps said. “Wherever he goes to college…he’s gonna do amazing and I can’t wait to see what he’s gonna do.”

For Phelps, those two scores set a record for most single-season touchdowns receptions in 4A with 28 – one short of tying the record across all divisions.

“It feels amazing to put my name in the record book,” Phelps said. “I work so hard but in reality, I do it for the team. I’m just glad they give me the opportunity.”

You can’t win a championship without an X-Factor, though. 

Tonight – that X-Factor was Tyton Slade, who finished with 108 yards and a touchdown.

“I’ve been dreaming of this moment my whole entire life,” Slade said. “Been watching my dad coach ever since I was seven or eight…I’m super blessed that it’s here. I have a good family, this brotherhood behind me, and I can’t ask for anybody else.”

ALA Gilbert North’s defense tasted blood in the second half and turned it up accordingly, only letting up seven points (14 total) en route to the championship win over Snowflake, 28-14.

Eagles Head Coach Randy Ricedorff earned his third personal state championship, but winning the program’s first ever etches this team’s name in the history books forever.

“It’s a brotherhood of guys that learned to love each other,” Ricedorff said. “We’ve got guys coming from all over the place coming to a charter school. That chemistry isn’t there – we have to build it. That’s a testament to what these guys did.”