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Les WillseyStaff Writer, AIA365.com firstname.lastname@example.org
Queen Creek safety late nips Desert Edge in D-III FB finalNov 24, 2012
It was already surprise enough that prolific scoring teams Queen Creek and Desert Edge were 19 seconds from going to overtime Saturday to settle the Division III state football title. Even as good as both teams were all season on defense, a 7-7 deadlock.
But even more surprising was the outcome -- in regulation -- not overtime.
Queen Creek's Tucker Workman raced to the Desert Edge end zone to tackle Desert Edge punter Chris Brown for a safety with 12 seconds left to lift the Bulldogs to the school's first-ever footballl title, 9-7, at ASU's Sun Devil Stadium.
Workman was able to get to Brown, who had to hustle back to his end zone to retrieve a high center snap on a fourth-down punt. Workman got to Brown near the back of the end zone and wrapped him up so he couldn't attempt a desperation pass to avoid a safety. The result was victory for Queen Creek, which rebounded from a 7-0 deficit early in the third period to gain the hard-fought triumph.
Queen Creek capped the third season under coach Joe Germaine (14-0) after losing the past two seasons in the semis and quarters to Saguaro. It was an especially hard defeat for Desert Edge and its third-year coach Rich Wellbrock, who played the Bulldogs to a standstill in a blood-and-guts defensive battle. Desert Edge finished 13-1.
"For sure we were going to try and block it," Germaine said after his team used its final timeout with 19 seconds left to give special teams a chance to make a play. "Even if we roughed the punter, it wouldn't have hurt us to go for it."
Workman, who was coming from the outside left to administer pressure, had to change his route once he saw the snap sail over Brown's head. He had one thing on his mind.
"I had to go and get him," Workman said. "I couldn't let him get a chance to throw it."
Germaine and his staff were pretty much resolved at the time, as were most in attendance, to figure out strategy for overtime.
"We have a great group of kids," Germain said. "I thought we were going to overtime., too, but our kids have shown a lot of character. That was evident today. They kept their poise in the second half. It was like they willed something to happen. I feel bad the game had to end the way it did."
Desert Edge seemed to have gained momentum offensively in the second period although the game was scoreless at intermission. Running back Kyle Woolard finished the half with 84 yards rushing on 11 carries -- 67 yards in the second period. Woolard and the Scorpions marched 74 yards in 12 plays to begin the third period with Woolard doing the honors from 5 yards out with 7:08 left in the third. Woolard totaled 119 yards on 25 carries to lead Desert Edge's offense.
Queen Creek, limited to 74 yards in the first half, executed better in the second half putting together two long drives. The focal point, of course, was taliback Matt Guida. Guida rushed for 55 yards on Queen Creek's ensuing drive after Desert Edge took the lead. He fumbled, however, at the Desert Edge 17 ending a possible game-tying possession.
The next possession there was no fumble. Only 40 more rushing yards from Guida and the tying 14-yard TD run with 7:28 to play in the game. Guida finished with 160 yards on 26 carries. Desert Edge barely crossed midfield after its scoring drive, reaching the Queen Creek 47 late in the fourth
"We didn't make enough plays, end of discussion," Wellbrock said. "We didn't make plays early when we had the chance. We couldn't get anything going, not with consistency. Give them credit. They just kept coming. Both defenses played well, ran and hit."
Queen Creek and Desert Edge averaged 45 points a game and nearly 500 yards of offense per outing coming into the game and allowed 6.5 and 11.3 points per game, respectively. At halftime the teams combined for short of 200 yards (Desert Edge totaled 115 and Queen Creek 74). Both quarterbacks -- Desert Edge;s Sawyer Lung (29 yards) and Queen Creeks's Carson Jones (15 yards) -- were not sharp passing, missing open receivers on several throws each. Desert Edge finished with a season-low 212 total yards. Ditto Queen Creek with 167 yards..
"We played well in all phases this season," Germaine said. "But defense was the staple for us. Won it for us today."
The only scoring chance of the first half belonged to Queen Creek, which reached the Desert Edge 7 on a 23-yard run by Guida. Desert Edge got a sack from Raheem Dowdell. That forced a 34-yard field-goal attempt by Miguel Ibarra that was wide right with 8:48 lft in the second period.
Queen Creek running back Matt Guida 232 yds per game and eight TDs in postseason. Desert Edge QB Sawyer Lung avg 314 passing plus 11 TDs and 2 picks. QC Monster postseasonQueen Creek (13-0) vs. Desert Edge (13-0).