Desert Edge tops Williams Field, makes first state championship game

Desert Edge tops Williams Field, makes first state championship game


Desert Edge tops Williams Field, makes first state championship game


With coach Rick Wellbrock in the middle of the mosh pit, Goodyear Desert Edge players jumped up and down, chanting, “A-S-U,” after beating Gilbert Williams Field 37-27 Saturday night at Phoenix Sandra Day O’Connor High.

Arizona State’s Sun Devil Stadium is Desert Edge’s next destination next Saturday at 3 p.m., when the top seed will meet No. 2-seed Queen Creek for the Division III football championship.

Desert Edge (13-0) is making its first trip to the championship game. But quarterback Sawyer Lung quickly let his teammates know there is still one more game to play.

“We haven’t won nothing yet,” said Lung, who threw three touchdown passes and ran for another. “Until we’ve got that ring on the finger, we haven’t won nothing.”

Wellbrock said his team was going to enjoy the semifinal victory for about two hours, before turning its attention to Queen Creek, which also is trying to cap an unbeaten season.

“I don’t know anything about them, and they probably don’t know a heck a lot about us, but we’re going to enjoy this for the next two hours,” Wellbrock said. “Obviously, two undefeated football teams. It should be fun. Joe Germaine does a great job with their program. We’re excited to be in the state championship game. But as Sawyer Lung just said it, we’ve got one more. These kids have had a great focus all year long. Hopefully, they can continue with it one more week.”

Desert Edge came out with its usual swashbuckler style, making big plays on both side of the field. Safety Ronald Dowdell intercepted Jeddediah Fagg’s pass on Williams Field’s first possession. Moments later, Lung found C.J. Heard for a 37-yard touchdown.

Desert Edge forced three first-half turnovers and built a 17-0 lead, before Fagg twice hit Cole Forsgren for touchdowns to cut the score to 17-14 at halftime.

Kyle Woolard scored on a 39-yard screen pass to open the second half, increasing Desert Edge’s lead to 24-14. Desert Edge had a chance to put Williams Field in a deep hole after Ismael Murphy-Richardson blocked a punt and Desert Edge had the ball inside Williams Field’s 5.

But, after reaching the 1, Desert Edge was called for an unsportsmanlike penalty. It ended up settling for Chris Brown’s second of three field goals on the night.

Desert Edge and Williams Field both were hit a few times with personal foul and unsportsmanlike conduct penalites.

Desert Edge had two straight unsportstmanlike penalties in the final two minutes.

“I didn’t like the way it ended,” Wellbrock said. “Those are two hard-hitting teams out there. But we’ll take it. It doesn’t have to be pretty this time of year.”

Fagg threw three touchdown passes to Forsgren, but he was intercepted three times, twice by Dowdell.

“They just kept coming,” Wellbrock said about Williams Field. “They’re a well-coached team and their kids play their tails off and we were lucky to come out on top.”

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