Eighth-seeded Phoenix Valley Lutheran scored a quarterfinal round upset over top-seeded Scottsdale Prep Friday night 49-32 at Gilbert Christian High School, shaking up the Division VI state football playoffs.
Valley Lutheran advances to next Saturday’s Division VI semifinals to face No. 4 seed Glendale Joy Christian at 6 p.m. at Phoenix Sunnyslope High.
Valley Lutheran jumped out to a big lead and put Scottsdale Prep in a 21-0 hole early in the game thanks to the running of senior Ketah Watson. Watson scored just seconds into the game, dashing down the sidelines for a 14-yard score. Watson, who torched Scottsdale Prep with five touchdowns on the night, would score twice more before the eight-minute mark with runs of 34 and 28 yards.
“All the credit goes to Valley Lutheran’s scheme and the way they came out,” Scottsdale Prep coach Will Munsil said. “You give up 21 unanswered in the first three minutes, and you’re facing a hole the rest of the way and that’s what happened to us tonight.”
When Scottsdale Prep pulled within 5 in the second quarter, it was Watson again who answered with a 1-yard touchdown run to give his team a 28-16 halftime lead.
His longest run of the night was a 67 yard touchdown run in the third quarter.
“He’s an incredible athlete and he’s just explosive through the hole,” Valley Lutheran coach Bob Wolf said. “He really got us going offensively.”
Valley Lutheran didn’t sit on their lead either, calling for a halfback pass on their first offensive play of the second half as Sam Gabrielson found a wide open Aaron Koehne for an 82-yard touchdown.
Late in the fourth quarter running, back Kyron Newton scored on a 6-yard run up the middle to complete the scoring for Valley Lutheran.
Quarterback Nick Smith tried to bring Scottsdale Prep back with a 25-yard pitch-and-catch to the lanky senior Ethan Wright to get his team on the board late in the first quarter.
Greyson Boyll, sprung by a devastating block from Matt Munsil, who also rushed for and caught a touchdown, sprinted 41 yards to the end zone to bring Scottsdale Prep within 5 points but that’s as close as they’d get.
Valley Lutheran’s defense led by Aaron Koehne forced Scottsdale Prep into three interceptions and a fumble and held down the high scoring offense.
“Our defense made huge plays with that potent offense that they run, holding them to just two scores in the first half that was the difference maker,” Wolf said.