Blogs / Features
Don KetchumStaff Writer, AIA365.com email@example.com
Brophy turns up the heat with three games in 10 daysAug 20, 2012
By Don Ketchum
“Growth only occurs when you face a challenge, and we certainly have a challenge.’’
So says Scooter Molander, the football coach at Phoenix Brophy Prep.
The Broncos’ challenge is this . . .
They open the 2012 season on Wednesday night (Aug. 22) at Glendale Mountain Ridge. Three days later, they play their home opener at Phoenix College against Santa Margarita, Calif., pegged by some media outlets as the top team in the nation. And on Aug. 31, it’s back on the road for a contest against Anthem Boulder Creek.
That’s three games in 10 days.
It is a challenge enough for any team, but when you factor in the desert heat . . .
“We really worked hard for a couple of weeks, then we backed off and had a couple of days off. Now we are healthy and fresh,’’ Molander said of preparations by his squad that numbers more than 70, one of the state’s biggest.
A big part of the equation is conditioning, conditioning and more conditioning.
“We’ve been doing most of that work at the beginning of practice,’’ Molander said. “Conditioned teams win games in the third and fourth quarter.’’
It doesn’t just involve running “gassers,’’ or sprints.
“A lot of the work is functional, if you will,’’ Molander said, referring to position-specific drills.
It is not if playing such a schedule has never been done, he added.
“Teams in the Midwest and upper Midwest have done it for playoffs, like having a game on Saturday, one on Tuesday and another on Saturday,’’ Molander said.
“We are just thankful to Mountain Ridge for being flexible in its scheduling.’’
Brophy recently had an 80-play scrimmage with Phoenix Desert Vista, the defending Division I champion that won its opener against Palo Verde (Nev.) in the Sollenberger Classic on Aug. 18.
“That’s the type of thing you do every year to get ready for the season,’’ Molander said.
“We have two very good opponents this first week. We are worrying only about Mountain Ridge now, because it is a power-points game for us, and the other game – we will worry about that later.’’
The Broncos feature perhaps the state’s best quarterback-receiver duos in seniors Tyler Bruggman and Devon Allen.
Bruggman, who has committed to Washington State, threw for 2,497 yards and 37 touchdowns with only two interceptions in 2011. Allen, who doubles as a track star and has received numerous collegiate offers, accounted for 1,072 yards on offense last season, with 44 catches for 844 yards and 14 TDs.
Molander said they are “clicking on all cylinders.’’
Bruggman has another inviting target in wideout Clarence Clark.
The team also has a sturdy defense, led by linebacker-safety Robert Relf and linebackers Andrew Curtis and Conner Martinez. Brophy also appears to have its annual stable of quality ornery linemen, led by two-way man Dominic Riccitelli.
The Broncos who return from last season have some unfinished business, after the team won its first 11 games and then fell to Chandler Basha 32-29 in the second round of the playoffs.
“Our goal is to be playoff-ready,’’ Molander said.
Mountain Ridge finished 3-7 a year ago under coach Bobby Green and has the makings of a productive offense returning with quarterback Pono Ayers, running back Tre Favors and junior receivers Bart Diehl and Shawn Doucette.
The key for the Mountain Lions will be defensive development. The team lost its top four tacklers from last season.