Trailing a non-playoff bound team by 13 points at halftime, playoff-bound Phoenix Arizona Lutheran switched from being a run-oriented team to a passing team after intermission Friday night.
The change in strategy worked, and Arizona Lutheran rallied for a 41-32 victory over host Chandler Valley Christian in a Division V game.
Senior quarterback Tyler Koehler threw four touchdown passes and ran for a fifth in the second half as Arizona Lutheran (8-2) shook off a sloppy first half, in which it scored just seven points and turned the ball over four times — twice on downs.
Trailing 20-7, Arizona Lutheran wasted little time seizing momentum in the second half. On the second play of the third quarter, Koehler lofted a 63-yard touchdown pass to senior Ben Bernthal down the right sideline, and the comeback was on.
After Valley Christian scored on the ensuing possession, Koehler and Bernthal hooked up again for a similar 42-yard touchdown pass down the right sideline on Arizona Lutheran’s next possession.
Valley Christian (4-6) led 26-21 after three quarters, but Arizona Lutheran senior Alfred Erives took over in the fourth quarter and made several big plays. Erives, the school’s all-time leading rusher, proved he can also turn heads as a receiver.
With his team clinging to a two-point lead, Erives caught a 72-yard touchdown pass and then a 65-yard touchdown pass on back-to-back possessions to put the game out of reach for Valley Christian.
Erives made six catches for 214 yards.