By Erik Masingill ’12
Brophy triumphed over the Mesa Jackrabbits Oct. 16 thanks in part to a late goal line interception by Joe Maggi ’11.
Maggi’s fourth quarter pick off stopped a Mesa drive and helped nailed down the 26-18 victory for Brophy.
This matchup got off to a quick start as Mesa scored the first touchdown of the game with a five-yard run. The Jackrabbits got good position to start out the drive on the 47 yard line from an Alex Garoutte ’10 punt.
However, the extra point was blocked by Jose Molina ’11. The scoreboard showed 6-0 Mesa with 7:21 left in the first quarter as the offense looked to start another drive.
On the third play of the Broncos’ second drive, Chase Knox ’12 threw an interception and Mesa was in business again with the ball at Brophy’s 30 yard line.
Just three quick plays for negative two yards set up a 50-yard field goal attempt for Mesa, but the special teams came through again with Josh Dennard ’11 blocking the kick and taking it to the 45 yard line.
The Bronco offense saw an opportunity to take the ball in for their first score of the game. It all started with a 44-yard run by Max Leonesio ’10. Garoutte nailed a 21-yard field goal to make the score 6-3 with 4:22 in the first quarter.
After a futile offensive drive for the Broncos, Mesa got the ball quick. However, on the first play, Tom Woodward ’10 intercepted the pass and ran to the 33 yard line, giving Brophy another chance to take the lead.
Knox gunned a 32-yard pass to Dennard to get the Broncos into the red zone and one yard away from a TD. Leonesio finished the job with a one-yard run. With 8:05 left in the first half, Brophy led Mesa 10-6.
Brophy still had the momentum in the next drive as Knox delivered a 17-yard touchdown pass to Scott Robson ’10, but the extra point was no good. Brophy led Mesa 16-6 with 5:14 left in the first half.
Before halftime, Mesa attempted to put more points up to match with the Broncos, but ended up turning the ball over on downs. At the 45 yard line with 35 seconds left, Brophy knew they still could do more damage.
In the next Bronco drive a 25-yard pass from Knox to Robson set up a 37-yard field goal for Garoutte. Brophy went into halftime leading 19-6.
The next Bronco drive was an easy three and out, but during the punt, Mesa’s returner muffed the catch. Dennard saw the free ball and hustled to get it back to his offense.
Garoutte was given yet his fourth field goal attempt from now 55 yards, but missed it by a few yards short. At the end of the third quarter, the score remained the same.
Brophy was looking to score their third touchdown of the game after a 32-yard catch by AJ Steimel ’10 and a 28-yard catch by Robson. However, Knox was picked off by a Mesa defender who ran the ball back to Brophy’s 48 yard line.
The Jackrabbits scored a touchdown in two big passing plays to lessen the Bronco’s lead. Mesa missed the extra point and Brophy still led 19-12 with 10:29 left in the game.
The offense came back to strike, scoring a touchdown in 10 plays. For his second time, Leonesio crossed the pylon marker with the ball on a one-yard run. With 6:52 left, Brophy was leading 26-12.
Mesa kept on gaining more yards, but on one play that could have tied the game, a Mesa receiver dropped a pass in the end zone. Two plays later, Maggi intercepted a pass near the goal line with 1:15 left and secured the Brophy win with a score of 26-18.
Leonesio finished with 170 yards rushing along with his two touchdowns on 23 attempts.
Knox had two interceptions and two touchdowns, and was 16 for 26 with 212 yards passing.
Dennard had big plays on both sides of the ball with a blocked kick, fumble recovery, and long catch that set up Brophy for a touchdown.
“It is good to go out there and do everything that I can for my team. For every game, I try my best to win, and that means I try to do everything to the best of my ability,” Dennard said.
Head coach Mr. Scooter Molander said he thought both Brophy’s offense and defense were inconsistent and made too many poor decisions throughout the night.
“A good offense needs to make the right decisions,” Mr. Molander said. “In order to be a good defense, we need to tackle and stop big plays from hurting us. Mesa is a 5-2 team for a reason. In the end, we made the big plays we needed to make, which brought us the victory.”
The Broncos’ next game will be Oct. 23 against Hamilton, who is the No. 1 team in 5A-I schools. This game will also be televised on Fox Sports Arizona.