When it was over, after Mesa (Ariz.) Desert Ridge had pulled off the improbable, its players stood together in the north end zone of Chandler Hamilton’s football stadium.
The magnitude of their achievement set in, and suddenly they let loose with a chant that Desert Ridge hadn’t been able to shout for half a decade.
“We going to the ’ship! We going to the ’ship! We going to the ’ship!”
Fourth-seeded Desert Ridge is headed to the Division I state title game after a gritty, 24-21 victory over defending champion and top-seeded Chandler in the semifinals Friday at Hamilton. Chandler was ranked No. 20 in the Super 25.
The game was selected as the Super 25 Game of the Week in a vote on USATODAYHSS.com.
Desert Ridge will play No. 6 Peoria Centennial next Friday at University of Phoenix Stadium. Centennial won 31-21 in its semifinal tilt with Phoenix Mountain Pointe.
Desert Ridge was in the semis for the fifth time in the last six seasons, but hadn’t played for a championship since its only finals appearance in 2010, when it lost to Hamilton.
Against a loaded Chandler (11-2) team that had won 10 consecutive games and coasted in its first two playoff matchups, most expected that drought to continue, but not on the visiting sideline.