The eighth week of the Arizona high school football season was riddled with blowouts. In fact, in the top 10 of the top three divisions, there were only 3 games that finished with single digit differences. Fortunately, two of those close games featured incredible fourth quarter comebacks and there was a huge upset in Division I. Here’s a recap of those contests.
Basha vs. Perry
This was an interdivisional game between knotmove.com’s #6 Basha (Div. I) and #9 Perry (Div. II). Chandler Basha had just lost badly to Desert Ridge to derail their unbeaten season, and looked to take out their frustrations against a smaller Perry team that showed so much promise last year, but had already lost two games this season. All that promise came to fruition for Perry on this night, as quarterback Josh Ulhorn continually shredded the Basha defense for big scores. Basha’s offense stayed within striking distance during the first three quarters, but interceptions late and a botched punt turned into a first down run by Perry sealed the deal. Ulhorn finished with five touchdowns through the air and another on the ground. The season appears to be teetering now for Basha, who have lost two straight after climbing to #2, while Perry now has to be considered dangerous and capable of making a run in the Division II playoffs.
Deer Valley vs. Apollo
This was the most anticipated game in Division II, with host #4 Deer Valley riding high after upsetting Centennial last week to keep their unbeaten season alive. Standing in the way was #7 Apollo and versatile quarterback Jonathan Brown. Apollo jumped ahead early and had all momentum heading into the half with a 27-14 lead. They maintained that lead into the fourth quarter, but that’s when Deer Valley began to make plays. They scored to cut it to six, then regained possession with under a minute to play. Quarterback Auston Hillman found Kyle Vizthum for an improbable 60-yard touchdown with just the extra point needed for Deer Valley’s first lead. However the kick was blocked and overtime forced by Apollo. Hillman struck with another touchdown throw to Jaques Bruce on the first play of overtime to take Deer Valley’s first lead of the game. The defense intercepted Brown in the endzone to secure the victory, 41-34. Deer Valley remains unbeaten and showed a lot of moxie when they were up against it late, but don’t count out Apollo in this division. They played well in a hostile environment and the always dangerous quarterback Brown can keep them in any game.
Liberty vs. Desert Edge
The Division III game of the week turned out to be a barnburner between #8 Liberty and unranked Desert Edge. It remained close, tied at 28 in the third quarter, when Desert Edge broke out for two touchdowns and a 14 point lead. Liberty cut the lead in half with a touchdown pass by Tyler Rodgers. With 35 seconds left, Rodgers scored on a touchdown run and a gutsy two-point conversion call worked, giving Liberty a 43-42 lead. They picked off a Desert Edge pass to complete the comeback win and remain unbeaten on the year. Rodgers was the player of the game, accounting for all of Liberty’s scores with five passing touchdowns and the go-ahead rushing touchdown.