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courtesy of MaxPreps.comMaxPreps.com
Brophy high school football faces unconventional schedule: 3 games in 10 daysAug 21, 2012 The start of the Brophy College Prep (Phoenix) football season might be hectic, physically taxing and certainly memorable, but it is not unparalleled.
It just seems unnatural for a football team to play so many games – twice in four days and three times in 10 days – in such a short period of time. But that's exactly what the Broncos face to start the season.
"There certainly is some unknown involved but we are excited and looking forward to what is ahead of us," Brophy coach Scooter Molander said. "We haven't done anything like this before, but it is not unprecedented."
The Minnesota state playoffs start on a Tuesday, meaning those teams plays three times in eight days (Friday, Tuesday, Saturday).
"We've reached out to some of those people to see how they approach it," Molander said. "It is something some of those Midwest states do every year so it clearly can be done."
And yet there is a reason NFL teams essentially take two days off other than watching film and getting treatment after each Sunday battle. The body needs time to recuperate after getting through one of the most physical sports in the world.
High school football obviously isn't as harsh as the professional game, and teenage bodies tend to bounce back faster than men in their 20s and 30s, but it will be interesting to see how the Broncos handle the short recovery period.
The season starts by playing at Mountain Ridge (Glendale, Ariz.) on Wednesday and hosting California CIF Division I State Bowl Game state champion Santa Margarita (Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif.) on Saturday. The Broncos will play their third game before August ends when they travel to Boulder Creek (Anthem, Ariz.) the following Friday, Aug. 31.
"We will see how they feel," Molander said. "We won't know until we get there, but we will be ready to go for Mountain Ridge. That's the most import game of the week because it is a power points game and that's a playoff-caliber team."
Santa Margarita coach Harry Welch said the first game will give Brophy a little bit of an advantage heading into the Saturday contest.
"At every level of football, from the NFL on down, the second game always goes much smoother," he said. "I know I'd like to have a game in the books before playing Brophy. There is a rhythm to the second game that you are searching for in Week 1."
Molander went out of his way to thank Mountain Ridge officials, coaches and players for allowing Brophy to have that opportunity. Mountain Ridge agreed to have its normal week disrupted in order to accommodate the opportunity for one of Arizona's best to take on one of California's top returning teams.
"They have been great through all of this and we couldn't have done this without their help," he said.
The big game during the mashed-up schedule is the second one when Santa Margarita, which is ranked No. 4 in the MaxPreps Xcellent 25 to start the season, takes on Brophy, which many believe is the top-ranked Division I school in Arizona.
"This is a game that is anticipated by both schools and communities," Welch said. "Arguably we are the best schools in our respective states. It is going to be a whole of fun on the football field. Where else would you want to be on Saturday night?
"We are hoping this will be a long-term relationship where we can travel back and forth each year."
Brophy comes in with big expectations after bringing back a big portion of last season's squad that had an undefeated regular season before suffering an upset in the quarterfinals.
Senior quarterback Tyler Bruggman, who threw for 2,497 yards and 37 touchdowns and just two interceptions last season, has most of his targets back with wide receivers Devon Allen and Matthew Auran in the fold, while running backs D'Amani Grayer and Marche Dennard combine to give the Broncos some of the most athletic skill players in the state.
The defense is always Brophy's strong suit but the unit lost two contributors late in the offseason as Nick Carovillano, a 6-foot-4, 240-pound defensive end/outside linebacker, moved to Ohio and enrolled in St. Xavier (Cincinnati) and Ryan Castellani, who hit .271 with nine home runs and 21 RBIs as a sophomore, decided to concentrate on baseball this year instead of patrolling the defensive backfield as a strong safety.
Carovillano's family left to be closer to an ailing family member and he will miss his former teammates.
"It's going to be tough to leave," Carovillano told the Arizona Republic. "I learned a lot from there. I got the opportunity to start as a sophomore. I'm going to miss the guys and the coaches."
Santa Margarita has had some high expectations placed on it after bringing back a boatload of talent on the offensive unit that helped win the California Division I Bowl Game last fall.
Senior quarterback Johnny Stanton is one of the best playmakers in the country. He'll line up behind a massive, talented offensive line and have the luxury of getting the ball to running back Ryan Wolpin and receiver River Cracraft. Defensively, however, Santa Margarita doesn't have a returning starter on the defensive line and only one among the linebackers.
The Eagles might have to rely on the offense to start the season, but it is clear the team has a special brotherhood.
"I love this team," Welch said. "They have bonded together well. It is going to be difficult to play up to the expectations that people have placed on us but that is all right. As long as we have our own standards we are going to be fine."
Jason P. Skoda, a former Arizona Republic and current Ahwatukee Foothills News staff writer, is a 15-year sports writing veteran. Contact him at email@example.com or 480-272-2449.
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