After a 20-minute delay to get the lights turned back on to finish the final 49 seconds of the first-ever football meeting between Phoenix Brophy Prep and Scottsdale Chaparral, linebacker Joe Nauert finished off his former team with an interception.
Another stellar defensive effort helped Chaparral win 44-10 and put visiting Brophy Prep’s Division I playoff hopes on life support Thursday night before a large, spirited crowd.
Brophy (2-6) must win its last two games and hope things fall its way to gain a state berth.
Chaparral (7-1) has won six in a row, putting Division II No.1-ranked Tucson Salpointe Catholic on alert.
Chaparral’s defense has played lights out since the first quarter of the Scottsdale Desert Mountain game on Sept. 20.
After falling behind 28-0 early in the second quarter at Desert Mountain, Chaparral went on a 35-0 run to win, and only gave up two more touchdowns, before Brophy Prep scored its only touchdown in the final minute of the third quarter.
“In the last 24 quarters, they’ve given up like two touchdowns,” Chaparral coach David Huffine said. “Defense has really stepped up.”
Brophy was determined to score one more time before getting out of Chaparral, after the lights inexplicably went out with 49 seconds left. Brophy had the ball inside Chaparral’s 15.
Nauert nearly returned the interception for a touchdown, before getting caught inside the Brophy 10.
Chaparral was inspired not so much because it was playing Brophy for the first time, but for its assistant coach and 2005 alum, Morgan Ruby, who underwent cancer surgery earlier in the day.
Fans, players and coaches wore purple in a show of support for their coach.
“A lot of emotion,” Nauert said. “I was playing against a lot of my good friends.
“We did this for Coach Ruby. We wanted to play our best.”
Brophy failed to convert a fake punt in its first possession, and it went downhill after that.
Elijah Castro scored the first of his three rushing touchdowns, capping a 25-yard drive.
Will Edwards caught a quick slant pass and ran 77 yards before Tyler Whiley stripped him of the ball and Michael Rice recovered on his 1.
Edwards fumbled again the next time he caught it, and Rice recovered.
Chaparral sacked quarterback Brian Woodward seven times, three times by Hayden Pate, including one in the end zone for a safety.
Sophomore back Ryan Velez was the only bright spot for Brophy, returning a kickoff to the Chaparral 9. But Chaparral was able to force Brophy to settle for a field goal.