In the final week of the regular season, Desert Edge handled section rival Verrado 49-23, early Friday night in the 3A semi-final, it looked as if the Scorpions would continue their dominance of the Vipers moving efficiently for a score on their first possession of the game as QB Tehran Thomas hit Lenai Bellamy down the seam for a 24 yard score.
Verrado, on their first possession, were stopped, but a roughing the punter, kept the drive alive allowing the Vipers to move down the field and hit a field goal, making the score 7-3. Scorpions up.
Early in the 2nd quarter, Verrado served notice that they would not go away, as quarterback Lathon Lax hit speedster Xavier James on a 50 yard touchdown strike. PAT good Vipers up 10-7. Verrado followed with a long drive, converting twice on 4th down and working the ball deep and eventually hitting a short field goal taking a 13-7 lead with 2:09 in the half.
Desert Edge, playing with urgency, moved the ball quickly down the field, getting a big gain from junior back Roshaun Johnson down the right sideline. Edge eventually scored, hitting Alias Sturgis for a score to cap the 65 yard drive.
Early in the 3rd quarter Verrado, using multiple screens to slow the Desert Edge pass rush, worked their way down the field and then powered the ball with fullback Donte Richardson, who scored on a short run giving the Vipers the lead 20-14.
Desert Edge took the lead on a scramble touchdown throw by Tehran Thomas from 33 yards out. Early in the 4th Thomas added a touchdown run and later, seemingly icing the game, Thomas had a 14 yard scamper off the left side giving the Scorpions a solid 34-20 lead with three minutes left.
As they had all night, the Vipers would not quit and Xavier James took off on a 63 yard sprint for a score, adding to the drama, Verrado successfully pulled off the onside kick, but Desert Edge D was able to eventually hold on 4th down and seal the game securing a spot in the state title game against Paradise Valley.
Bottom-line: Verrado was very scrappy, the defensive front held up against the giant Desert Edge offensive line. Desert Edge scored, but it did not come easy as the Scorpions had difficulty finding offensive rhythm, but when needed Tehran Thomas made plays.
Next week, in the state title game in Tucson, Desert Edge will need to play a cleaner game if they want to bring home the title against Paradise Valley. In week two of the season, Paradise Valley defeated the Scorpions, 33-21. In the game Paradise Valley QB Daniel BridgGadd threw for five scores. Desert Edge, in the first game, played without the talented Thomas, who was nursing an injury. With Thomas back and Paradise Valley playing in their wide open pass offense, look for a high point total in the championship.