Host Chandler Valley Christian dominated San Tan Valley Combs in the first half on Friday night, but the visitors stormed back after intermission and made a game of it with some big plays.
Valley Christian, which led by 25 points early in the third quarter, won the non-division matchup 39-27.
Junior running back Ty Corbin rushed for 129 yards on 16 carries for Valley Christian, and junior quarterback TJ Widner threw two touchdown passes.
Facing a 25-point deficit, Combs scored on its first possession of the second half. Junior quarterback Nick Prueher, playing in relief of junior starter Zane Hunt, tossed a 24-yard touchdown pass to junior running back Austin Gauthier with 7:42 left in the third quarter.
Valley Christian (4-4) answered with a touchdown on its next drive. Widner capped a seven-play, 62-yard march with an 11-yard pass to Corbin, and Valley Christian led 32-6 with 4:06 left in the third quarter.
Combs (1-7) trailed 32-13 after three quarters but refused to quit.
Facing a third down and 21 from their 40-yard line, Prueher connected with senior receiver Nathan Lampa for a 60-yard touchdown pass on the third play of the fourth quarter, and Combs trailed by just 12 points.
Later, trailing 39-20, Combs again turned to the deep pass to stay in the game; this time it was a 62-yard touchdown toss from Lampa to Nathan Amestoy on a tricky halfback pass.
Down by 12 points, Combs got the ball back with 2:20 left in the game and drove to Valley Christian’s 30-yard line. But the march ended when Valley Christian senior defensive end Tyler St. James sacked Prueher on fourth down. Valley Christian took over on downs and ran out the clock.
Valley Christian moved the ball at will in the first half and built a 19-0 lead after 24 minutes.
Combs struggled to move the ball in the first quarter, and then hurt its cause with three costly penalties in the second quarter. Two of the penalties erased touchdowns and the other one wiped out a nifty fake punt.