Phoenix Brophy Prep has had a long tradition of quality offensive linemen. But on Thursday night (Sept. 12), the Broncos got a strong dose of reality and learned what it is like to be on the receiving end of big-boy blocks.
Peoria Centennial punished the Broncos up front, paving the way for a pair of 100-yard rushers and controlling the clock for most of the second half in a 17-13 victory at Phoenix College.
After a lopsided opening loss to Chandler, Centennial has rebounded for wins over Chandler Basha and Brophy. The Broncos (1-2) lost their second straight after falling to Division I defending champion Chandler Hamilton a week ago.
Centennial’s ball control didn’t allow Brophy’s offense on the field much in the second half. Brophy ran just 13 plays, compared to Centennial’s 35.
Senior Matt Rodriguez had 161 yards on 26 carries, with a first-half touchdown. And junior Dedrick Young had 142 yards on 20 carries, including 111 in the second half along with a TD. Young rushed for 225 yards and four TDs in a 32-17 win over Basha last week.
A 26-yard field goal by Joe Navarro with 2:13 left in the third quarter gave Centennial a 17-13 lead over the Broncos.
During the break between the third and fourth quarters, Centennial coach Richard Taylor said he told his offensive linemen, “ “This (fourth quarter) is on you guys,’ and they responded.’’
Centennial ran 19 plays in the fourth, Brophy just five.
Taylor was pleased by his team’s play on both sides of the ball and how his team has played the last two weeks.
“Especially against the good teams that we have played,’’ he said.
Centennial’s second-half effort was even more important after a big momentum shift in Brophy’s favor late in the first half.
Brophy was forced to punt with just under two minutes left, and the ball was downed at the Centennial 2. But the Coyotes coughed up the ball on a botched handoff and Brophy recovered with 1:43 left.
Will Edwards carried the ball into the end zone from the 2 on the next play, and Brophy had a 13-7 lead at the half.
“In the first half, we shot ourselves in the foot over and over,’’ Taylor said.
Centennial went back in front 14-13 with 9:10 left in the third on a 1-yard dive by Young. The score was set up by a 72-yard pass play from quarterback Daniel Smith to receiver Tyler Simpson.
Of Centennial’s domination up front on offense, Brophy coach Scooter Molander pointed to a significant size differential.
“We’re undersized against just about everybody we play,’’ he said.
Brophy was playing without senior quarterback Brian Woodward, who broke a bone in his non-throwing hand (left) against Hamilton and likely will be out about two weeks, according to Molander.
It’s a tossup, however, whether Woodward is missed more on offense or defense, where he plays safety.
Making his first start at quarterback was sophomore Cade Knox.
He didn’t necessarily look like a deer in the headlights, but didn’t set the world on fire, either.
He completed 9 of 22 passes for 100 yards. He threw a 51-yard scoring pass to Isiah Oliver in the second quarter and had another TD strike erased late in the first half when officials ruled he had crossed the line of scrimmage before throwing the ball.
Molander said that “it didn’t help’’ that Woodward was out, but added that “Cade did some good things out there.
“We put too much on his shoulders, and that’s on me. We’re just going to have to get a lot better on offense.’’
Brophy had just 6 total yards in the second half and finished with 120.