It’s been a long time coming.
Chandler slowly became a name on the map when it comes to the top high school programs, but were often overshadowed by their arrival down the street, Hamilton.
It took 17 tries to beat the Huskies, but last year the Wolves got over the hump. Next on the list was a state championship, something that hadn’t occurred since 1949.
But they finally were able to clinch a spot in the state championship game and take on the team who had overshadowed them for so many years in the Hamilton Huskies.
Bryce Perkins and company were able to take down the Hamilton, 28-7. Perkins notched three total touchdowns, one passing and two rushing. The running game was hitting on all cylinders with Perkins, and talented running backs Chase Lucas and Micah Reed-Campos. The defense harassed Hamilton in the backfield and forced three turnovers.
“We had a game-plan and we watched a ton of film based on what they did. We just executed the way we know how to execute,” Chandler safety Mason Moran said. “Beating Hamilton the first time, and then coming in and beating them this year, and then playing them in the state championship; that’s exactly where we wanted to come out on top with this victory.”
The win not only brings a championship to the school, but the city as a whole. Multiple players and coaches brought up the team’s success as a product of the community’s support.
“It was a total team effort,” Perkins said. “The whole vibe of Chandler, it just changed. It helped us out a lot.”
Perkins ends his career at Chandler with a laundry list of school and state records, but the things he has specifically done against Hamilton will set his legacy apart from other Chandler stars. He was the first quarterback to defeat Hamilton and then brought a state title to Chandler by knocking down the Huskies for the second time in a season. In fact, Perkins has beaten Hamilton three out of the four times he has played them as the starting quarterback.
“When (Perkins) walks through the door, 15 people follow him, so I knew he was going to do something special,” Aguano said. “I can’t express how I’m going to miss him. He’s going to do a heck of a job at Arizona State…and make Arizona proud.”
When Chandler and Hamilton meet up, the storyline is usually hatred between two of the top teams in the state. After the state championship game however, it seemed as though a mutual respect was on display between Aguano and Hamilton head coach Steve Belles, as well as the players, who have helped create this hotbed of talent for the two teams residing on Arizona Boulevard.
“Coach Belles is an amazing coach and he has amazing athletes,” Chandler running back Chase Lucas said. “It hurts that they lost, but it feels so good that we won. I have a lot of brothers on Hamilton, but it’s amazing.”
While Aguano and the newly crowned Wolves will savor this title, he knows the pack now has a bull’s-eye.
“To beat (Hamilton) twice in one year, I don’t think anyone has ever done that. It’s remarkable for us, and now I think we’re the top team in Chandler like we proved,” Aguano said. “I know it’s going to be tough to stay at the top, but we’re going to try our best.”