Tempe sophomore quarterback Emanuel Gant is seven inches taller than his center Eduardo Vasquez. He needed all of it Friday night as he lept on top of him, placing the football over the goal line to seal another win with 1:49 left.
Gant put the ball in the air more often than he left the ground himself. He scorched Phoenix Arcadia’s secondary for 490 yards while completing 31 of 43 passes and four touchdowns to help Tempe (6-2) beat the Titans 49-39.
“They knew how to camouflage their defense, but the offensive line gave me time to throw the ball,” Gant said.
Senior wide receiver Raija Holt made only five catches during the game, but his biggest play came on defense playing safety. Junior quarterback Pete Campbell lobbed a 20-yard pass thinking his receiver would outrun Holt, but he was wrong. Holt picked it off with 3:46 left, setting up Gant’s game-winning leap.
The air raid offense started early with Gant completing his first four passes to put his team in the end zone. Arcadia didn’t let the scorekeeper get a break though as they rolled for 273 yards on 37 carries.
Tempe now has a winning season for the first time since 2004, something coach Brian Walker admitted he didn’t expect coming into this year following a 1-9 season.
“We said all along we wanted to go 5-5 coming into the season and for us to be where we are at, we’re blessed right now,” Walker said.
Next up for Tempe is senior night against Seton Catholic (7-1). Arcadia will take on powerhouse Saguaro (5-2).