Rushing attack powers Tempe Prep past Valley Christian

Rushing attack powers Tempe Prep past Valley Christian


Rushing attack powers Tempe Prep past Valley Christian


azcentral sports high schools

azcentral sports high schools

It wasn’t how No. 2 Tempe Prep thought this game would go, but it used a strong second half to squeak by No. 10 Chandler Valley Christian Friday night 34-24 in a Division 5 matchup.

“It got pretty scary,” said Thomas Brittain, head coach of Tempe Prep. “We stayed pretty calm because I knew if we played our game we could beat this team because they couldn’t stop the run. I was hoping my guys would make the big plays at the end.”

Tempe Prep (4-2) won its third straight game with the help of its seemingly unstoppable triple-option, out-rushing Valley Christian (2-3) 378-104 on the night.

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“Give them credit, they just kept pounding the ball,” said Jeff Rutledge, head coach of Valley Christian. “They sucked us up and then they hurt us in the pass.”

Senior tailback Isaiah Brittain spearheaded this Tempe Prep three-headed monster rushing attack, bulldozing his way for 78 yards on the ground in the first half and 191 yards on the game. He finished with 29 carries and three touchdowns.

“That’s probably the most (carries) I’ve ever had,” said Isaiah. “In close games, that’s how it’s going to be I guess. As long as I’m holding onto the ball and not being stupid and fumbling.”

Valley Christian did all it could trying to contain the ground-and-pound Tempe Prep offense, holding them to only 14 points in the first half. Brittain and Tempe Prep were too much to handle in the second half however, tiring the Valley Christian defense with their big and powerful tailbacks.

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Tempe Prep started off their second half on offense with a huge 10 minute drive that resulted in a 10-yard plunge by Brittain to put them ahead 21-10 with 1:10 left in the third quarter. Time of possession was very important as they were playing “keep away” from Valley Christian for most of the quarter.

“Well that’s the key to our success,” Brittain said. “We are not a passing team, we try to wear teams down so we try to win that time of possession battle.”

Valley Christian sophomore quarterback Alijah Gammage did all he could in trying to keep his team in the game, throwing for 108 yards in the first half and 260 yards on the game, including a four-yard scamper to bring his team to within three with 5:13 left in the game. He finished 17 of 31 for two touchdowns and a rushing touchdown.

“He’s a competitor,” Rutledge said. “He’s still learning the position but he’s a playmaker. Sometimes he tries to do a little too much and that’s the part I have to control him with but I’ll take 100 of that kid.”

Notable injuries were suffered this week for the short-handed Valley Christian squad as junior linebacker David Campbell, one of the leading tacklers, suffered a broken fibula in practice. His absence was felt in the middle of the Valley Christian defense.

“He got hurt on Wednesday,” said Rutledge. “He was definitely one of the most enthusiastic players on our defense and a leader.”

Best of high school football 2015

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