Brophy falls to Mountain Pointe in quarterfinals

Brophy lost to Mountain Pointe 35-31 Nov. 13 in the quarter final round of the 2015 state football playoffs. (Photo by Bryce Owen)

Brophy lost to Mountain Pointe 35-31 Nov. 13 in the quarter final round of the 2015 state football playoffs. (Photo by Bryce Owen)

The Brophy College Preparatory football team gave an undefeated Mountain Pointe High School team all it could handle on Friday, Nov. 13 but ultimately fell short, losing 35-31.

The loss, which came in the second round of the Arizona Interscholastic Association State Football Championships, eliminated the Broncos (7-5) from the playoffs and ended their season.

“We fought til the end, we really did,” Brophy head coach Scooter Molander said in a Nov. 15 phone interview. “We got the ball back with 52 seconds and we drove the length of the field and gave ourselves a chance to win. I’m really proud of our guys, I’m really proud of our coaches. We had a good season. We had a lot of close losses and we won a lot of important ball games. We’re one play away from being in the semi-finals.”

The one play did not come for the Broncos, as they had two chances to score from the 18-yard line as the seconds ticked away in the fourth quarter. The Broncos scored to take a 31-28 lead with about three minutes left before the Pride (12-0) marched down to score what became the game-deciding touchdown.

The Broncos were neck and neck with the Pride the entire night, as the score was 21-17 Mountain Pointe at half time. The four-point win was the closest game of the year for Mountain Pointe.

Senior running back Ryan Velez paced the Broncos on the ground, rushing for 140 yards and two scores on 22 carries.

“The running game was definitely working,” Velez said in a Nov. 15 phone interview. “We pounded them, they couldn’t seem to stop us on the ground so that was working for us.”

Senior quarterback Cade Knox threw for 122 yards and two touchdowns in the loss. The Broncos used the hard count often on Friday in an effort to draw the Pride offside. Knox says the film revealed the opportunity.

“We had seen it on film that they were susceptible to that, so in practice during the week we worked on it,” Knox said in a Nov. 15 phone interview. “The hard count is something we’ve used throughout the year when we feel we can take advantage of it. That was definitely something we planned on using during the game.”

Altogether, Mountain Pointe racked up 14 penalties for 116 yards, according to MaxPreps.com. The Broncos had three penalties for 20 yards.

“We knew that had to play disciplined against a team like (Mountain Pointe),” Coach Molander said. “They’re big, fast, strong and physical. We played smart football, which was a big emphasis all week for us. To have only three penalties is pretty remarkable. We kept our composure, we fought within the whistles, and when the whistle blew, we went about our business.”

Coach Molander says the Broncos focused on controlling what they could control and fought hard despite injuries. He says three offensive linemen played both ways on Friday due to an injury on the defensive line.

Senior linebacker Walker Adams says the defense played well in the loss thanks to their preparation.

“A lot of it was a great game plan that was executed really well,” Adams said in a Nov. 15 phone interview. “Our secondary played really well. Throughout the end of the season our secondary was a little shaky and they had some injuries that kind of put them in a tough spot and they really stepped up.”

The Broncos were very much a senior-led team in 2015, and Molander says that makes the loss more painful than usual.

“This one hurts a lot,” he said. “Many of these guys are three year starters. They really set the bar in terms of leadership and they’ve left a legacy. They were great examples, we hope that they go on and be great envoys for our program. The good news is many of these guys are going to go on and play in college…they are great examples for our program moving forward.”

Cade Knox ’16 stiff arms a Mountain Pointe defender Nov. 13 while running the ball. (Photo by Bryce Owen)

Cade Knox ’16 stiff arms a Mountain Pointe defender Nov. 13 while running the ball. (Photo by Bryce Owen)

What’s next for the seniors

Some of the Brophy seniors who plan to continue their football careers in college are Adams, Knox and Velez.

Knox will be attending Harvard University next fall and plans to begin working out next week. He is thankful for his time playing for Brophy.

“Brophy football has been great for me, it’s definitely opened up a lot of opportunities for me and I’d definitely do it over again,” he said. “The community is very supportive.”

Knox finished his career at Brophy with 33 games played, 4,867 passing yards and 43 touchdown passes, according to MaxPreps.com.

Adams is undecided on a college, but he is planning on playing football at the next level. After suffering a season-ending knee injury in 2014, Adams returned and led the defense in 2015.

“It was fun,” Adams said. “High school football is always fun and I had a great time. It was really fun to be able to go out every day and compete with a lot of talented football players.”

Velez is planning on playing college football as well, and he is undecided on his school. Coach Molander says Division I schools need to take a second look at Velez.

“He’s unbelievable with what he’s done the last few ball games,” he said. “What he will always be remembered for is he always played his best football when it mattered most. In the biggest games, he played his best football and Velez is a tremendous, tremendous player and person.”

Velez, who has a 4.2 GPA, had 660 yards and 10 touchdowns in the last three games of his senior season. He finished the season with 1,616 rush yards and 22 touchdowns.

“I think it’s just the belief the team had in me,” Velez said. “I can’t do it without them and I just don’t want to let them down in those big moments. They put me in the position to make those plays and they gave me the confidence and the ability to make those plays. They made their blocks and had their trust in me.”

With 3,892 rush yards and 48 touchdowns in three years of varsity football, Velez says he does not have anything to prove to Division I schools- he can play.

“I don’t want to say I had something to prove, it was more so just living out my senior season,” he said. “I’m doing what I can to help the team. I definitely feel like I can play at that Division I level, I know I can. Coach Molander has all the belief in the world in me that I can, so that just proves it.”

Adams, Velez and other football players still have time to look at their options, as National Signing Day is Feb. 3, 2016 and the window for signing is open until April 1.

Scottsdale Independent Sports Correspondent Justin Maskulinski can be contacted at jmaskulinski@newszap.com. Follow him on twitter at twitter.com/Maskulinski.

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