With a record of 7-3, the # 8 ranked Chaparral Firebirds played the 7-3 #9 ranked Badgers of Prescott. With a light rainfall, the field was just slippery enough to make it interesting.
The first half was a struggle for field position. Kickers and kick returns were the big players. Kyle Williams of Chaparral started the excitement when he returned the opening kickoff to the Prescott 40. A tough Badger defense forced the Firebirds to try a field goal but it went wide right.
The Chaparral defense played as the have all season, aggressive. They forced the Badgers to go 3 and out. A short punt had the Firebirds on the Badger 46. But they could not make any plays on the fired up Prescott D. Trevor Hankins's punt pinned the Badger on their own 6. Again, the Chap D would force a three and out on the Badgers. With pressure coming the Prescott kicker got off a rugby style kick that went out of bounds at the 20.
Chaparral running back Spencer Rothery used his speed to beat the Badgers to the corner and the Firebirds were now first and goal from the 5. Holding penalty. First and goal from the 15. Offsides! First and goal from the 20. A tackle for a loss had Chaparral third and goal from the 26. A tough run play by John Jones had the Firebirds back to fourth and goal from the 15 and in range for another field goal try. The kick by Matt Boatman was good and with 54 seconds left in the first quarter Chaparral was up 3-0.
On the ensuing kick off Chris Reed of Prescott showed speed and moves as he weaved away from tacklers all the way back to the Chaparral 26. The Badgers could not capitalize and turned the ball over on downs.
The Badgers did not give a yard and they forced the Firebirds to punt. Trevor Hankins got off a booming kick with a great roll. A 62 yard punt that put the Badgers deep in their own territory again. Firebird D again flared against the Badgers and Prescott was punting after three plays. A gutsy punt return by Garner Geitz of Chaparral had them at the Prescott 20. A fumbled toss and a tough Badger D forced Firebird kicker (and linebacker) Matt Boatman to try a field goal. From 51 yards out he hit it square. Chaparral 6, Prescott 0.
With 7:56 left in the first half the Badgers put together a good drive from their own 35. QB Rick Odorfer finally hit his main target of the night Todd Citron. That and runs by Chris Reed and Clancy Cooper soon had the Badgers in Chaparral territory. But the Firebirds dug in and on fourth and one stopped the Badger drive on their own 20. Chaparral did not waste time on offense. On the first play, Spencer Rothery busted straight up the middle for an 80 yard TD. PAT good. Chaparral 13 Prescott 0.
Both teams would exchange punts. But with :48 seconds left, the Firebirds fumbled and it was recovered by the Badgers. A scrambling Odorfer found a wide open Todd Citron for a 35 yard touchdown pass. PAT good. Chaparral 13 Prescott 7.
The second half was more of the same battle for field position except Chaparral would capitalize on turnovers.
Chris Reed took the 2nd half kick off and ran it back to the Chaparral 35. This gave the Badgers a needed spark but it was extinguished on the next play as Charlie Campbell intercepted an Odorfer pass and ran it back to the Badger 45. Chaparral quickly moved the ball behind the running of John Jones and Spencer Rothery. Rothery sprinted 19 yards around the left side for a TD. PAT good. Chaparral 20, Prescott 7.
The remainder of the quarter was a battle of punts and an exchange of fumbles. Both defenses played tough. The Firebird punt team started the fourth quarter by pinning the Badger on their own 1. On the next play a surging D-line stuffed Prescott in their own end zone for a safety. Chaparral 22, Prescott 7.
The Badgers made their safety kick and got the ball into Chaparral territory. From his own 42 Spencer Rothery sprinted up the middle for a 58 yard TD. PAT good.
Chaparral 29, Prescott 7.
Chaparral's second team added another touchdown later when Kellen Bell ran in a 65 yard TD. Making the final Chaparral 36 Prescott 7.
Bottom Line: The Badgers had a great season. They had an aggressive defense. Led by LB's Karl Stoeckel, Randy Schonert and Michael Vicente they stopped the Firebirds as long as they could. Their offense did not give them time to rest before they were back on the field and usually with their backs to the wall. The Badgers had several threats on offense. They never got running on all cylinders in this game. They lost the turn over battle and field position. Chris Reed is a junior and will be a force to be reckoned with next year.
Firebirds did what they've done all year: Let the defense put the offense in position to win games. The Chaparral offense wore down the Badgers and a superb kicking game kept them fighting to get out of their own territory. Chaparral did get lucky this game. They put the ball on the ground 7 times and recovered 5. Next week against Centennial they need to be perfect. A scary thought for next year: most of Chaparral's offensive weapons are coming back.
Game ball: Spencer Rothery for three touchdowns and over 200 yards rushing.