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Defensive shutout leads Brophy to a 31-0 victory over Highland

Photo by Bryce Owen ’17 | Matthew Kempton ’17 makes a catch Sept. 9 against Highland at central. Brophy Won 31-0.

Brophy 31
Highland 0

By Hayden Welty ’19

Led by their defense, Brophy kept an undefeated record of 4-0, shutting out the Highland Hawks in a 31-0 win at Central High School Sept. 9.

On the opening drive, Highland gave up possession quickly on a three-and-out, allowing Brophy to capitalize.

The first play of the night for the Bronco offense was a 23-yard pass from quarterback Matt Ryan ’17 to Erik Dimaria ’18. At the end of the drive, Trevor Eldean ’17 kicked a 19-yard field goal to make the score 3-0.

Brophy never gave up the lead.

Ryan posted 231 passing yards on 30 throws.

“They were playing deep coverage all day, so we just hit them underneath, underneath, underneath,” Ryan said of the offense’s strategy. “When they shifted up, we went deep with it and made great plays.”

“Every week [Ryan] is getting better,” said head coach Mr. Scooter Molander.

On Highland’s next drive, the defense stopped them again. However, Noah Pittenger ’17 muffed the punt, giving Highland a second chance to score.

But the defense forced a third straight three-and-out. This time, Highland decided to go for it on fourth down. And yet again, the Bronco defense stopped Highland, forcing the turnover.

“Our defense played absolutely lights out,” Mr. Molander said. “If we’ve had a sputter of special teams the defensive picks it up, if we’ve had a mistake on defense the offense picks it up, and the defense picked us up a lot”

On Brophy’s next drive, Ryan completed four passes for a total of 60 yards. A touchdown pass to Matthew Kempton ’17 capped off the drive. An extra point from Eldean made the score 10-0 as Brophy earned their first touchdown of the game.

Highland did not move into field goal range until their fourth drive. They attempted a 35-yard field goal but could not convert, and the score remained 10-0.

This would be their only field goal attempt of the night.

On the first play of the next drive, Kempton caught a 28-yard pass. He finished the game with 111 yards and a touchdown.

“We have a bunch of great receivers,” Ryan said of the offense’s performance. “Kempton’s one that’s really special. When you can get him the ball, he’ll make a play for you.”

On the next three rushes, Pittenger ran for a combined total of 44 yards. And Robert Brooks ’17 caught a touchdown pass to finish off the drive.

Eldean converted the extra point, and Brophy took a 17-0 lead heading into halftime.

On Highland’s first drive of the second half, Marques White ‘19 intercepted Highland’s pass and ran it back for a touchdown with 9:12 left in the third quarter. Eldean made the extra point.

White, a sophomore, had a total of six tackles on the night, five of which were in the first half.

“A pick-six whenever you can get it is a huge momentum changer,” said Rexx Tessler ’17. “That just ended Highland’s drive right there … After that pick-six, it was basically over.”

“Whenever we can get pressure on the quarterback it’s fantastic,” Tesslersaid. “As you saw, he crumbled once we brought the pressure. There was nowhere for him to go.”

Mr. Molander echoed the sentiment.

“We got a score on defense,” Mr. Molander said. “That’s huge. That’s great football.”

However, Brophy received an excessive celebration penalty after the play.

“Offensively, we shot ourselves in the foot,” Mr. Molander said of the offense’s performance. “We had some big plays certainly, [but we had] way too many penalties on offense and some missed opportunities.

The game slowed down as both teams traded possessions.

It was not until the Brophy’s fourth drive of the half did the teams score again. Brophy received two 15 yard penalties during the drive but still managed to move the chains.

Ryan completed a 15-yard touchdown pass to Dimaria to cap off the drive with 3:50 left to go in the fourth quarter. Eldean made the extra point.

Highland had another drive before the end of the game, but they were not able to score with the remaining time.

The final score was Brophy 31, Highland 0.

“Our guys did a good job tonight,” Mr. Molander said. “We’re happy to get a victory.”

Despite this, Mr. Molander said the team needs to improve.

“There are some things that we can clean up,” Mr. Molander said. “We have a long way to go in terms of a good team … Our special teams made a couple of mistakes, and then we did miss some opportunities on offense.

“If we continue to get better as a team, the way our defense plays, we have an opportunity to go as far as we want to go,” Mr. Molander said. “That’s a wonderful thing. It’s really about our preparation and what we do every week during practice.”

Brophy will try to remain undefeated next week as they travel to Desert Vista High School to face off against the Thunder on Friday, Sept. 16 at 7 p.m.

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