Like their Firebird mascot, the Chaparral football team “came back from the dead” Friday night, falling behind 28-0 to Desert Mountain before scoring five unanswered touchdowns to grab a 35-28 victory over the Wolves on the road.
Chaparral (3-1) gave up four touchdowns on the Wolves' first four possessions of the game. Desert Mountain senior quarterback Kyle Allen found senior wideout Mark Andrews for a 71-yard touchdown pass on a slant route to take an early lead. On the next possession, junior running back Deion Warren scampered five yards for a score to make it 14-0, then caught a 35-yard swing pass for another TD on the final play of the first quarter. Allen tossed his third touchdown pass of the night to Sam Sabato, who made a defender miss and raced 33 yards for the touchdown to make it 28-0 with 9:41 left in the second quarter.
The Firebirds came to life later in the period on a 68-yard screen pass from junior quarterback Sean Paul Brophy to senior running back Elijah Castro, which got Chaparral to the Wolves' 12 yard line. The very next play, junior running back Justin Paniagua raced into the end zone for the Firebirds' first score of the night with 2:18 left in the first half. Chaparral got the ball back after a three-and-out by Desert Mountain (2-2), and Brophy hit senior tight end Trevor Wood in the end zone on a 19-yard fade pattern with 17 seconds left in the half to make it a 28-14 deficit at the break.
In the second half, Chaparral's defense held the Wolves' offense to just six net yards on their first four drives. Meanwhile, Brophy found senior wide receiver Israel Simpson on a three-yard slant pattern to cap a drive which saw four third down conversions and pulled the Firebirds to within a touchdown. After forcing another three-and-out, the Firebirds took over in Desert Mountain territory and marched 34 yards, finishing it off with a one-yard plunge by senior running back Devin Magana to tie the score at 28-28 with 4:14 left in the third quarter.
Chaparral was driving for the go-ahead score when Castro fumbled in the red zone, and senior linebacker Greg Frasco recovered it for the Wolves. But early in the fourth quarter, Chaparral got the ball back and marched 89 yards, ending the drive with a three-yard touchdown run by Magana to grab its first lead of the contest at 35-28. The Firebirds later had a chance to ice the game, but Brophy fumbled on a quarterback run, and Austin Abney recovered in the Desert Mountain end zone for a touchback. With one last chance to tie the game, the Wolves marched to the Firebirds' 29-yard line. But Chaparral sophomore defensive back Kurt Shughart intercepted an Allen pass at the two-yard line with 1:28 left on the clock, and Chaparral held on for the victory.
Chaparral will be back on the road next Friday taking on Red Mountain. Desert Mountain will play at Horizon on Friday.