PHOENIX, Ariz. – Johnny Stanton
looked startled, a little confused, like his alarm clock went off in the middle of the afternoon.
He had just broke Santa Margarita's (Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif.)
huddle and the more than 5,000 already lively fans on Brophy College Prep's (Phoenix, Ariz.)
side at Phoenix College Stadium, suddenly stood and broke into a wild cheer.
They had been coaxed by Brophy linebackers Joe Nauert
and Robert Relf
, who were pumping their fists upward like Tiger Woods after making a big putt.
which was in the middle of a ridiculous three-game in 10-day wringer,
needed a big stop and a boost of energy. Santa Margarita, the nation's
fourth-ranked team, was looking to go up by a second touchdown with the
ball on the 6, second-and-goal.
Stanton shook off the noise,
walked calmly to the line, rolled two steps to the right, jetted two
steps up field and before anyone could get a good shot at him, he did a
swan dive into the end zone, silencing the crowd, crushing Brophy's
spirit and putting the Eagles in control for good.
Despite one last heroic effort by Brophy's D'Amani Grayer
who blocked and recovered a punt in the end zone with 6:44
remaining, Stanton and Santa Margarita hung on for a 27-14 victory
Saturday night before more than 8,000 fans and a national-television
Stanton, a strapping 6-foot-3, 220-pound right-handed
Tim Tebow type, completed 12 of 21 passes for 208 yards, rushed 16 times
for 99 more and accounted for all four touchdowns.
Along with a stout all-around defensive effort, effective second-half running by Ryan Wolpin
(25 rushes, 131 yards) and the finishing touches – a
14-play, 68-yard drive capped with a 3-yard TD run by Stanton with 29.6
seconds to play - the Eagles did enough good things to erase a lot of bad
Namely four turnovers, 11 penalties and the blocked punt
that went for a Brophy touchdown. Then again, Santa Margarita answered
the special team's lapse with a truly impressive slam-the-door shut
"It wasn't close to what we can do," Stanton said. "We
have a lot of season to correct our mistakes. At the same time it was a
win, away from home against a great team."
Brophy Prep, certainly fatigued by a 37-14 win over Mountain Ridge on
Wednesday – that's right Wednesday – hung close and actually took a 7-0
lead the second play of the second quarter on a 3-yard touchdown sprint around left end by the fastest player in Arizona, 6-foot, 197 wideout
A national-caliber hurdler and sprinter, Allen set up the touchdown with his first catch of the game, a 16-yarder.
Beyond that one sequence, however, Allen was contained.
repeat, Allen played all but six minutes against Mountain Ridge.
He walked and at times ran gingerly – like he'd just played his first
game of the season three days earlier. No knock on Allen. He drew double- and triple-team coverages at times and was also used as a decoy. He finished with just three
catches for 40 yards and three rushes for 19 yards. When he got the ball, a palpable energy filled the stadium. He just didn't get the ball enough - and that was a credit to Santa Margarita.
The Eagles' defense on him – and the rest of the Broncos – was superb,
thorough, albeit a little anxious and overly aggressive. Santa Margarita had an extremely late hit on the
first play of the game, setting the tone for all the yellow flags.
"Just nerves," Santa Margarita coach Harry Welch said. "No excuse, that's on us, but it was a long off-season and the kids couldn't wait. We'll clean that up."
Eagles were flagged with six major penalties, two coming on the final
drive that Stanton just seemed to ignore.
That means they
actually traveled 103 yards on its final drive that was paved by its
massive offense line that his led by 6-7, 323-pound senior and UCLA
bound Erik Bunte
"We wanted to finish this thing the right way," Bunte said. "We really weren't going to be denied."
Welch, whose team won the CIF State Division I
bowl game last season and returned 16 starters, said the hype surrounding the game contributed to his team's
sometimes sloppy and over-zealous play. But ultimately, he was very pleased.
aren't going to have another game with 11 penalties and four turnovers,
I guarantee you that," Welch said. "It's not easy to travel and get
used to how things are done here nor to play a very, very good Brophy
team. The reason the game was close is a tribute to Brophy.
"With all that said, Johnny Stanton is a very special players isn't he? I wouldn't want to play defense again him."
Especially if he feels particularly challenged.
Allen's touchdown, the Nebraska commit went right to work and quickly
led Santa Margarita on a 7-play, 85-yard drive, capped with an
absolutely beautiful 26-yard touchdown pass over the middle to Kyle Sweet
, who made a beautiful leaping grab. Brophy, like it did all night, had it well defended but Stanton threaded the needle and Sweet hauled it in.
put it in the only place it could have got through," Sweet said. "That's why he's one of the best quarterbacks in the country. That
touchdown felt so good. I can't wait to watch it on replay."
next Santa Margarita drive was a replay of the last one, only shorter, as the
Eagles marched just 43 yards after a short punt. This one was capped on a
gutty 4th-and-3 call from the 8 when someone picked the blitz and
Stanton found his favorite targert River Cracraft
over the middle for a touchdown. That came with 1:02 left in the half. The Washington State receiver had three catches for 68 yards.
"We did some good things for sure to offset the bad," Stanton said. "Our defense was awesome all night."
an effective first quarter for Brophy when Washington State-bound
quarterback Tyler Bruggman (11 of 31, 171 yards) completed six passes
for 71 yards, the Eagles clamped down especially 6-4, 220-pound junior
defensive end Taylor Prenevost
, linebackers Duncan Hume (nine tackles), Duncan Hume (six) and Tony Bone
(five), along with senior defensive back RJ Mazolewski
, who finished off the game with an interception, Brophy's only turnover.
stepped up because we wanted to show a lot of people just what we cold
do," Prenevost said. "I think we did that pretty well, but we definitely
have a higher ceiling to reach."
And what about the job they did on Allen?
"He's a definite a Division I guy, but honestly we try not to focus so much on our opponent. We just do what we do."
Prep coach Scooter Molander said he couldn't have been more proud of
his team. He wouldn't say how much fatigue played into the outcome.
just knows after Grayer's punt block, the Broncos had a legitimate shot
at beating a nationally-ranked team even though they were outgained
"We definitely battled and well be better for it,"
Molander said. "Yes we made some mistakes and we really couldn't run the
ball, but I can't say enough about my guys."
Either could Welch.
did a real lot of good things, especially considering it was our
opener, especially here and against such a tough, tough opponent," he
said. "They definitely made us work. But I thought we showed our poise
and that we're in pretty good shape there in the fourth quarter." E-mail senior writer and columnist Mitch Stephens at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter @MitchMashMax.