Blogs / Features
Don KetchumStaff Writer, AIA365.com email@example.com
Guess who's back? Chaparral's Firebirds, what's whoOct 19, 2012
By Don Ketchum
Those were the words of Scottsdale Chaparral’s Jake Roh on Friday night (Oct. 19), and it would be difficult to disagree after the Firebirds dominated host Phoenix Horizon 55-20 in a key Division II football contest.
Chaparral , the three-time defending state champion, suffered three close losses in its first four games, but now has rebounded to put its record at 6-3. The Firebirds were seeded 12th at the beginning of this week. Horizon, seeded seventh, fell to 7-2.
“We had some speed bumps, but now we are back playing the way we need to play,’’ said Roh, who caught nine passes for 172 yards and three touchdowns and from his hybrid linebacker-defensive end spot played havoc with the Horizon offense, which generated just 87 total yards all night.
About the only thing that needs work for Chaparral heading into Thursday’s (Oct. 25) game against rival Scottsdale Saguaro is coverage on special teams.
The Firebirds allowed a 99-yard kickoff return for a touchdown by Ryan Neel and a 73-yarder by Mark Robinson that set up another Horizon TD.
Chaparral had fall break this week, and that allowed the team to watch more film and focus more on the game, according to coach Dave Huffine.
The Firebirds couldn’t afford to look past Horizon to the Saguaro game, which is the regular-season finale.
“With those close losses we had early, we couldn’t afford to look past anybody,’’ Huffine said.
Senior quarterback Brad Schencker had a big night for Chaparral, completing 20 of 31 passes for 315 yards and a school-record six touchdowns. He also threw an ill-advised underhand pass to avoid a big loss, and it was returned for a TD by Horizon’s Tom Radziszewski for a 10-yard TD just 31 seconds into the third quarter.
Chaparral’s defense returned two interceptions for scores, by Alex Arnold (59 yards) in the second quarter and Hayden Pate (30 yards) off a tip by Arnold late in the third quarter.
“It was a real dominating effort. The defense played lights out. They were unbelievable,’’ Huffine said.
“Roh and Arnold made big plays tonight. They are part of a group of seniors that has three (championship) rings on their fingers, and they know what it takes.’’