Offense, defense, and special teams. It’s the three areas of football that teams hope to win, but rarely able to do so. The Brophy Broncos were the exception in their quarterfinal 21-7 win over Desert Ridge.
The Broncos were able to move the ball offensively thanks to their big receiving core and talented running back duo of Ryan Velez and Noah Pittenger.
Though Desert Ridge was without star running back Taren Morrison for the final three quarters of the game, the defense still looked tenacious as they constantly were able to get into the backfield and really only gave up one big play: The lone Jaguar touchdown, which was a Tate Shumway to Tavian Patrick connection for 83 yards.
Brophy also won the special teams battle as Jack Haddon blocked a punt and returned it for a touchdown, and the Brophy punt unit was able to pin the Jaguars deep in their territory multiple times.
It seems like ages ago the Broncos started the season 1-3. Their opening month included losses to Nevada’s Bishop Gorman, the top team in the nation, Centennial, and Hamilton. Since then, Brophy has reeled of eight straight wins. The loss to Bishop Gorman was a rough start, but a catalyst for the Broncos take their game to the next level.
“(Bishop Gorman) was the best high school team I’ve ever seen, personally. We learned a lot from that. We learned ‘ya know what, we can play’,” Brophy head football coach Scooter Molander said. “We didn’t play that well the first game, but we didn’t berate the guys. We said this was a start. There were a lot of good things in that ballgame, albeit small things. We built on it.”
The Brophy defense has built on that loss more than arguably any other aspect of the team. Over the past seven games, the Broncos have given up an average of 12.6 points per game. They gave up 44 in their loss to Bishop Gorman.
Senior linebacker Dakota Ducar had one word to describe the defense: “Deadly”
“At Brophy, the coaches put you in a great position to know what’s going on prior to the game and all we have to do is remember that, and the game comes very naturally to all of us,” Ducar said.
Isaiah Oliver was a proponent in all three aspects of the quarter-final win. He made some huge receptions to set up touchdowns for the offense, played solid special teams, and got his seventh interception of the season to seal the victory for the Broncos.
“We take all three parts of the game just as serious as each other one so we were able to win all three and able to get a great win over a great Desert Ridge team,” Isaiah Oliver said.
We will get to see how far Brophy’s offense, defense, and special teams have come as they take on top-seeded Hamilton in the semifinals, the same team who beat the Broncos 41-6 in Week 3.