Brophy seeks redemption versus Pinnacle in first round

Jimmy Hawkins '16 returns a fumble for a touchdown Sept. 18 against Pinnacle. Pinnacle defeated Brophy 32-31 in a back and forth match up. (photo by Carter Van Winkle)

Jimmy Hawkins ’16 returns a fumble for a touchdown Sept. 18 against Pinnacle. Pinnacle defeated Brophy 32-31 in a back and forth match up. (photo by Carter Van Winkle)

The Brophy College Preparatory football team has a chance to avenge a close loss on Friday, Nov. 6 as it takes on Pinnacle High School in a round one playoff matchup.

The Broncos (6-4) fell to the Pioneers (5-5) on a late field goal 32-31 back on Sept. 18.

Brophy senior running back Ryan Velez says ‘revenge’ is not the word the Broncos are using to describe their approach to Friday’s game.

“We see it more as redemption, to be honest,” Velez said in a Nov. 2 phone interview. “We had control of that game for a lot of it and some little mistakes led to them getting in that situation where they ended up kicking the field goal to win it. So we need to clean up some of the little things we did wrong and we should be fine.”

Playing a rematch in the first round of the playoffs has its benefits, and one of them is added intensity. Brophy head coach Scooter Molander says the Broncos are looking forward to playing the Pioneers again.

“We lost a close one against them,” he said in a Nov. 1 phone interview. “It’s good that our guys will be inspired and motivated to play hard and play well.”

In the September game, Pinnacle’s freshman quarterback Spencer Rattler threw for over 300 yards and three touchdowns, according to MaxPreps.com. Coach Molander says slowing the Pioneers’ rushing attack will help the Brophy defense this time around.

“It’s important to stop their running game,” he said. “They ran the ball effectively (in the Sept. 18 game) and that’s the first start. If we’re able to (stop the run), then they’re a lot more predictable, obviously.”

The Brophy offense performed well in the close loss, as the Broncos rushed for 170 yards and averaged 7.1 yards per carry. Velez, who recently broke a Brophy school record by rushing for 350 yards on 34 carries in an overtime win over Basha, says if the Broncos stick to their assignments, the outcome should be different this time around.

“We just need to do our jobs individually,” he said. “We need to have everyone doing what they’re taught to do and in line with the whole team as one. If we are able to work together as a unit, then we should be able to pull off this victory.”

Coach Molander says the 49-42 win over Basha in week 10 proved his team is learning how to play in tight games. The Broncos have played in six games this year that have been decided by one score, winning three and losing three.

“Just last Thursday (Oct. 29), we played another overtime game and we got it done,” Coach Molander said. “We’ve played a lot of close ball games this year and I think we took a huge step in realizing that, you know what, you’re going to make some mistakes during the ball game…and that next play is the one that matters most.”

The next play on Oct. 29 happened to be the game-deciding play. Molander says senior quarterback Cade Knox fumbled and recovered a routine handoff in a rainy overtime, setting the Broncos up with a third-and-goal play from the 13-yard line. On the next play, Knox scrambled into the end zone, diving over Basha defenders and winning the game.

Back in September, the Broncos weren’t able to win the next play after a late field goal.

Now, Brophy has another chance. the next play will be kickoff on Friday night as the Broncos look for redemption.

A photo from the Sept. 18 Brophy game against Pinnacle High School. The two will verse each other this Friday. (photo by Bryce Owen)

A photo from the Sept. 18 Brophy game against Pinnacle High School. The two will verse each other this Friday. (photo by Bryce Owen)

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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