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Don Ketchum

Staff Writer,

QB Lung breathes life into Desert Edge offense

Nov 22, 2012

By Don Ketchum

There are some football teams that reach the state championship game almost every year. To some, that might be considered routine.

Not Goodyear Desert Edge. The Scorpions can appreciate where they are. They have really wanted to be here and almost were, in 2010, but fell just short.

Now they have made it. Desert Edge (13-0) faces Queen Creek (13-0) for the Division III title on Saturday (Nov. 24) at 3 p.m. at Arizona State’s Sun Devil Stadium.

One of the main reasons for Desert Edge’s success has been the play of senior quarterback Sawyer Lung. His brother, Tanner, also was a Desert Edge quarterback, and called the signals for the team during its deep playoff run two years ago.

Now Sawyer is one up on his big bro. And a win on Saturday would make it even that much better.

“It’s an amazing feeling,’’ Sawyer said. “We are living the dream right now. It’s great to have put all of that work in and now you’re at the point where you want to be.’’

After the Scorpions’ 37-27 semifinal victory over Gilbert Williams Field last weekend, Sawyer said he talked to his brother for three hours on the phone. Tanner is playing baseball as a middle infielder at Aquinas College in Grand Rapids, Mich.

“He told me to concentrate on my strengths, to make sure I keep my head on straight, be humble,’’ Sawyer said.

Queen Creek, Sawyer said, “is a very good, disciplined team. They are well-coached and we know we will have to play our best to beat them.’’

Lung has put some big numbers on the board. He has passed for 3,119 yards and 36 touchdowns, with only seven interceptions. And he has rushed for 174 yards and nine TDs.

“I owe a lot to my offensive line and my receivers,’’ Lung said. “I just throw the ball up there and watch those guys go and get it. It is ridiculous what they have been able to do.’’

Elijah Marks, a 6-foot-1, 170-pound junior, has totaled 1,306 yards and 18 TDs. Ismael Murphy-Richardson, a 6-4, 200-pound junior, has 731 yards and 11 TDs.

Sawyer Lung is 5-11 and 185 pounds, a bit bigger than his brother. He said he is more of a pocket passer, while is brother was more athletic and elusive.

Standing in the pocket with big defensive players coming at you and breathing fire can put a quarterback’s nerves on edge.

But Sawyer isn’t worried about being hit. He also is a baseball player and has been hit many times during his tenure as a catcher, trying to block the plate.

“I’ve been blasted a few times in baseball and in football, but I actually like the contact,’’ he said.

Whatever happens on Saturday, the game will be anything but routine for Sawyer and his teammates, or for Queen Creek, for that matter. That’s what makes it a special experience.