Phoenix Brophy Prep not only survived the finale of the most brutal football schedule in the state, but, for the first time since the opener, it didn’t have a player lost with an injury.
Maybe that’s a good omen, heading into the cut-throat Division I playoffs.
Brophy Prep (4-6) opens Friday night at No. 5 and unbeaten Avondale Westview (10-0), which will try to utilize its Wing-T, smash-mouth offense to muster points against a Brophy team debilitated by injuries.
It got so crazy with injuries this season that top sophomore prospect, 6-foot-7 defensive end Connor Murphy, suffered a broken arm, tripping down some steps while looking at a text message, Brophy coach Scooter Molander said.
“We’re getting healthier,” Molander said. “I think that’s good.”
Molander showed a lot of guts setting up a schedule that included Scottsdale Desert Mountain, Chandler Hamilton, Peoria Centennial, Mesa Red Mountain, Mesa Desert Ridge, Phoenix Mountain Pointe and Scottsdale Chaparral — all teams that made the playoffs.
Brophy beat only Desert Mountain among that group. Brophy won its last two games against Mesa Dobson and Phoenix Desert Vista, gaining a 12-seed.
“I’m proud of our seniors for staying the course,” Molander said. “We’ve got great leadership. The captains have done a great job. the guys could have easily quit at 1-4. We won three of our last five games.”
Division V Tempe Prep has a strong familial tie, from the coaches to players. It starts with head coach Tommy Brittain. His brother David, the former Tucson Pusch Ridge Christian head coach, is part of the Tempe Prep coaching staff. David’s sons, Jesse, a junior, and Micah, a freshman, are on the team, along with Tommy’s sons, Zach, a junior, and Isaiah, a sophomore. Tommy’s three oldest sons have graduated.
Family patriarch, Gary,CQ — father of Tommy and David — has coached the line for the past eight years.
“In my life, football is truly a family affair,” Tommy said. “It has united my sons and I through common joys and sorrows, and is second only to our faith as a source of unity and mutual devotion.
“I have six daughters and a beautiful wife and they, too, are wholeheartedly committed to the Knights, through thick and thin.”
Defending Division I champion Chandler Hamilton is the healthiest it has been since its opener against Chula Vista (Calif.) Eastlake in August, coach Steve Belles said.
Offensive lineman Casey Tucker returned last week after missing six games with a high ankle sprain. Belles said sophomore dual back Kyeler Burke is the only regular out with injury for Friday’s first-round game.
Quarterback Sammy Sasso returns after missing last week with a concussion.
“This is a senior-dominated team,” Belles said. “They know what’s at stake. I know our offense hasn’t been great. We have to look in the mirror and say, ‘It’s time.’ The defense is good enough to win it all.”