Taren Morrison scores 5 touchdowns as Desert Ridge rushes to state mark against Brophy Prep

Taren Morrison scores 5 touchdowns as Desert Ridge rushes to state mark against Brophy Prep

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Taren Morrison scores 5 touchdowns as Desert Ridge rushes to state mark against Brophy Prep

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No. 4 seed Mesa Desert Ridge, needing 281 yards to break the Division I single-season rushing record set by Tucson High in 1970, rushed for 506 yards Friday night while defeating No.12 Phoenix Brophy Prep 44-24 in a quarterfinal game at Desert Ridge.

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“It was one of our goals to break it,” junior running back Taren Morrison said. “We didn’t want to think about it; we just wanted to play our game and if we were going to win, we were going to break the record. And we did.”

Morrison did the bulk of the damage, racking up 358 yards and all five Desert Ridge touchdowns on 28 carries.

Morrison, who scored in every quarter, saved his best for last with a pair of 50-yard rushing touchdowns in the fourth quarter. He also had touchdown runs of 10, 11 and 12 yards.

The only non-Morrison offense came when Desert Ridge kicker Landon Whitlow booted a 49-yard field goal to put his team up 17-3 at the half.

The Desert Ridge defense was nearly as prolific, sacking Brophy quarterback Brian Woodward four times and forcing three interceptions, including one returned for a touchdown from Amonai Itaaehau, who picked off a screen pass and sprinted 47 yards to the end zone at the end of the third quarter.

“You saw his athleticism,” Desert Ridge coach Jeremy Hathcock said. “He’s a monster. That’s only our third defensive touchdown of the year, and it couldn’t have come at a better time.”

Brophy made a run in the second half, pulling within a touchdown when Desert Ridge coughed up the ball on botched punt return, giving Brophy the ball at midfield. Two plays later, Ryan Velez scored on a 6-yard run.

Brian Woodward hit Velez for a 29-yard touchdown on the first play of the fourth quarter, and Isaiah Oliver hauled in a beautiful 24-yard touchdown catch from Woodward with nine minutes to go. But Brophy wasn’t able to stop Morrison and the Desert Ridge rushing attack.

Kicker Phillip Mourikes got Brophy on the board with a 28-yard field goal to start the second quarter.

“It was a big win,” Hathcock said. “I gotta give Brophy a lot of credit. Right when he put them out, they got right back in. But our offense did a great job.”

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Taren Morrison scores 5 touchdowns as Desert Ridge rushes to state mark against Brophy Prep
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