In a rematch of the last two 6A Arizona championship games, Chandler once against prevailed over Perry.
It was unsurprisingly another shootout — but this was a more astronomical score than any of the previous outings. The Wolves took a 84-49 victory over the Pumas, making a statement as the top 6A team and best in the state.
Chandler got a boost from the eligibility of a new transfer, and its many playmakers were simply unstoppable.
Perry’s loss puts its Open Division aspirations into doubt. Though an explosive team with perhaps the best quarterback in the state, the Pumas’ third loss will likely be costly.
Here are some takeaways from the game:
With Eli Sanders, Chandler adds another playmaker
Finally eligible after transferring from Mountain Pointe (Phoenix), Sanders made an immediate impact in his first Chandler game.
He punched in four touchdowns in the first half, three rushing and one receiving.
There are numerous playmakers on this Wolves team. Dae Dae Hunter is a pinball, bouncing off defenders for a 32 yard gain here and a 70-yard touchdown there as he continued his breakout season.
Hunter and Sanders combined for eight touchdowns on the night.
Quarterback Mikey Keene came into game completing 82.7% of his passes and averaging more than 250 yards per game. Three different wide receivers average at least 40 yards per game, with junior Jalen Richmond leading the way. He scored his fifth touchdown of the season in the second quarter, streaking right with Keene — who did a good job escaping pressure and rolling out of the pocket – and ended up wide open.
Before the season started, first-year head coach Rick Garrettson expressed no concern about the offense needing time to click. As the former offensive coordinator, he developed this offense years ago. He knows how to run it and how to teach it.
It’s clearly clicking, and will only get better as Sanders gets more involved.
Is Chubba Purdy the best Arizona quarterback?
There’s some real talent in Arizona at the quarterback position. Chaparral’s Jack Miller is an Ohio State commit that has received national attention throughout his high school career. JD Johnson of Pinnacle, a Michigan commit, had 11 touchdowns to just one interception entering the week. And Chandler’s Keene has impressed in his first season but has no offers, according to Rivals.
But could Purdy be the best of them all? He made some truly remarkable throws and showed his ability to heave it off the scramble. On one, he threw a strike on a third-and-14 while rolling left, releasing against the momentum of his body. On another, scrambling right, he completed the ball more than 30 yards downfield on a dime. On a different play, he nearly jumped backward as he threw it, and it went straight to a wide receiver.
The receiver was hit hard and dropped the ball — and it nearly went into another defender’s hand — but fitting into that window off-balance was impressive.
His brother, Brock, was criminally underrated by college recruiters, and he has been proving it at Iowa State this season. Chubba, a Louisville commit, might be the best quarterback in the state, just like Brock was in 2017.
What’s next for these teams?
With this loss, Perry is likely out of the race for the first Open Division playoff race. That’s a shame, because it’s in-part due to 30 starters being suspended two weeks ago. But it does give them a line to winning the 6A Championship, something that has eluded them over the past few years due to Chandler’s dominance. It’s no Open Division, but Perry has a straight path to the championship.
As for Chandler, the Wolves proved they’re still the best 6A team and are likely the top in the state. They still have a couple tough opponents in the regular season – notably Hamilton, the crosstown rival that’s going through a revival season – but should be a lock for the Open Division, barring a collapse.