Desert Edge regroups, routs Shadow Ridge

Desert Edge regroups, routs Shadow Ridge


Desert Edge regroups, routs Shadow Ridge


Goodyear Desert Edge quarterback Anthony Hernandez usually has three completions within the first minute and a half in his squad’s up-tempo offense.

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But when he went into the locker room at halftime with three completions, against a Surprise Shadow Ridge team that he fired eight touchdown passes against in a regular-season rout, something was unusual at Desert Edge.

“I was just missing open receivers,” said Hernandez, who recovered nicely with four second-half touchdown passes (five overall) in No.3 seed Desert Edge’s 39-14 comeback win over No.6 seed Shadow Ridge (9-3) in second-round play of the Division III playoffs.

Desert Edge (12-0) advances to play Scottsdale Saguaro in the semifinals at Phoenix Arcadia on Friday.

Hernandez threw for 434 yards on Sept.20 in a 63-28 rout of Shadow Ridge, in a game star Shadow Ridge running back Chris Salsberry was limited to 133 rushing yards, most of them coming late in the game, as two offensive linemen did not play.

Last week, Salsberry rushed for 317 yards in a win over Tucson Catalina Foothills. And as expected, he carried Shadow Ridge on his back with 211 yards on 40 carries and a pair of touchdowns Friday night.

Salsberry’s 51 yards rushing on a 16-play, 77-yard drive capped by his 2-yard run tied the game at 7 with 2:30 left in the half.

After Hernandez hit Elijah Marks on a 13-yard strike early in the third, Salsberry gave Shadow Ridge its first and only lead of the game with a 1-yard run on an 81-yard drive he highlighted with a 38 rushing yards on the drive.

At that point, things were alarmingly different than the regular-season game, but Hernandez and freshman running back Roshaun Johnson (16 carries, 102 yards and seven receptions for 112 yards) rallied Desert Edge in the third quarter.

“Coach (Rich) Wellbrock told me I had to get it going at halftime,” said Hernandez, who had 13 completions on 26 attempts for 277 yards.

Hernandez’s 26-yard TD pass to C.J. Heard gave Desert Edge a 20-14 lead with six minutes, 32 seconds left in the third quarter on the drive before his 67-yard scoring strike to Jordan Jackson increased the lead to 27-14 on the first play of the fourth quarter.

“It was in our mind-set at the half that we were not going to lose,” said Johnson, who added a late 6-yard touchdown run. “They did a good job stacking the box against us. I knew we were going to have to start throwing the ball.”

Wellbrock called the game, “not pretty, but they don’t have to be pretty at this point in the season.”


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