The action in this Mt.Ridge Brophy game started early. On their first offensive possession of the night, Mt. Ridge QB Austin Martin was flushed from the pocket and then took off on what was an apparent eighty-seven yard touchdown run. This great play was negated by a holding call and on the next play Brophy sacked Martin forcing Mt. Ridge to punt from its own end zone. After a short punt, Brophy starts on the Mt. Ridge thirty-one. Two plays later in a perfect 2nd and 1 situation Brophy QB Conor Hearn throws a pass twenty-one yards into the corner of the end zone which is pulled in nicely by tightend Carl Mulac for six. Hearn added the PAT making the score 7-0 Brophy. Mt.Ridge attempts to counter and makes a big play with Martin on fake punt, but again is called for a penalty. Keeping the score at the end of the 1st Brophy 7 Mt.Ridge 0.
The second quarter begins with Brophy punting to Mt.Ridge. On the first of many big plays of the night Mt.Ridge RB Nick Bell takes the punt forty-seven yards and gives Ridge good field position. The Brophy D eventually tightens and Mt.Ridge is forced to settle for a field goal, making the score 7-3 Brophy. On the next possession, after a long kickoff return, Brophy looks to add to its lead but a long touchdown strike by Hearn is dropped on 3rd down. On the ensuing possession, Mt.Ridge QB Austin Martin can't find a receiver on counter boot pass and elects to run. Eighty-three yards later he is in the end zone, this time no flags. The two point try fails Mt.Ridge 9 Brophy 7. Not to be outdone Brophy RB Markel Devorce on the next possession, takes the ball up the middle, breaks some initial tackles, turns on the jets on goes eighty-four yards for a Brophy score. PAT good. Brophy 14 Mt.Ridge 9. After exchanging big plays the teams decide to exchange turnovers. Mt.Ridge QB Austin Martin overthrows his receiver up the seam and the ball is picked by Brophy's Allen Hunter. Hunter, tacks on a twenty-three yard return. On the next play Brophy attempts a quick strike with a wrap around draw to Markel Devorce only to fumble and immediately give the ball back to Mt.Ridge. This time Mt.Ridge is able to capitalize. Ridge gives Brophy a steady dose of Nick Bell, who eventually pops around the left edge for a thirty-three yard TD run. The two point conversion is no good. Your halftime score is Mt.Ridge 15 Brophy 14.
The second half starts with Nick Bell of Mt.Ridge yet again making a big play, taking the kickoff fifty-five yards. The Brophy D does a nice job and holds, stopping Martin on a big 4th and 1. With old mo on their side Brophy takes off on a great drive. The combination of Devorce running and Hearn passing allows the Broncos to move quickly down the field. Eventually, Hearn again hits Mulac in the end zone for a TD. PAT good. Brophy 21 Mt.Ridge 15. On the next possession, after a nice return by Brady Rohlwing, Nick Bell again pops off around the left side this time for a sixty-five yard TD. PAT blocked. Tie game 21-21. Bam!! On the kickoff return Brophy deep back Allen Hunter hands off on a reverse to Rahnee Dennard who takes it ninety-six yards for a TD. Brophy 28 Mt.Ridge 21. The Brophy D feeds off of this play and forces Mt.Ridge into a 3rd and 10 situation. On this crucial 3rd and 10, Devorce pressures Martin who throws up the seam for an apparent incompletion into tight coverage. The ref throws a flag. Pass interference. The Mt.Ridge drive is given new life. Using this opportunity to its fullest Mt.Ridge follows the M.O. that has gotten them this far. Hard running from Bell is eventually followed up by a one yard TD by Martin. PAT good. Score at the end of the third. Mt.Ridge 28 Brophy 28
The furious action of the third quarter spills into the fourth quarter as Brophy tries to take the lead. Again on a crucial 3rd down, this time Brophy QB Conor Hearn throws into tight coverage that is broken up by Mt.Ridge. Brophy coach Jeff Kearin wants a pass interference call and does not get it. On top of this Kearin is flagged. Brophy is forced to punt. Again, Mt.Ridge takes advantage of the opportunity. Austin Martin hits TE Nick Covey for a twenty-one yard gain. Brophy tightens and places Mt.Ridge in a 3rd and 8 situation. Ridge coach Steve Belles makes a gutsy call and runs QB draw. Martin picks up the first down setting up 1st and goal inside the five. Martin then caps the drive with a short TD dive. PAT good Mt.Ridge 35 Brophy 28. Brophy takes over and opens with a nice sprint pass from Hearn to wideout Bobby Wesley. Next play Devorce gets stuffed on counter bringing up 3rd and 3. Hearn drops back to pass but Mt.Ridge senior DB Brady Rohlwing makes a nice play and breaks up the pass. Brophy is forced to punt. Mt.Ridge takes off the gloves and pounds away with Nick Bell six straight times. Bell gains chunks of yardage off the right side of the Ridge line. This sets up a boot run left that Austin Martin is able to take eighteen yards into the end zone next stop Sun Devil Stadium. PAT good. Mt.Ridge 42 Brophy 28. To finish the game, Conor Hearn gives us a taste of good things to come, calmly leading his team in the two minute drill and eventually hitting Mike Gianolla with a TD pass with no time left on the clock. Making the final Mt.Ridge 42 Brophy
Bottom Line: Mt.Ridge is playing great ball. Hats off to coach Belles and his staff. After losing four out of their first five many teams would have folded. Mt.Ridge made adjustments, overcame injuries and stayed the course and now will be playing for the state championship next week against Hamilton. Brophy is young. Next year watch out! Conor Hearn is one of the best young QBs I have seen and will have a strong group of skill players to work with.
Game Ball: Austin Martin is a candidate for player of the year (Recruiters please do not miss this kid). Nick Bell is my pick for playoff MVP, he is averaging over 230 yards rushing a game in playoffs. That said, the game ball goes to the Mt.Ridge O line. This group has allowed Martin and Bell to run three consecutive weeks against three of the states top defenses. In the last drive against Brophy, everybody in the stadium knew Bell was getting the ball and Brophy could not stop it. Great job O line!