In what turned out to be a game for the ages, Coolidge and Blue Ridge squared off Saturday for the 3A State Title.
This game was really a tale of two halves the first half was dominated by Coolidge and it looked as though they would win in a route, but the Yellow Jackets came out of the second half with a vengeance and rallied to win the title.
Coolidge looked dominant in the
1st half. Angel Felix looked like a
man among boys. By the way, if no small D1's or 1AA's are recruiting him, a
local JUCO needs to jump on him right now. I like him. He is a gutty
Well, besides Blue Ridge's 1st possession, which started from inside the 20 as Coolidge turned the ball over, Blue Ridge was very ineffective in the 1st half. Blue Rdige's lone score of the half came on a 3 yard Frank Parkinson dive. A missed PAT made the score 6-0.
The rest of the half was all Coolidge. A 50 yard Felix to TE Terry Sutulovich pass set up a 5 yard Felix to WR Jesse Wheeler TD. Thier missed PAT made the score 6-6. Two series later, Coolidge would score again. A 65 yard Brandon Jordan run set up a 4 yard TJ White TD and a successful 2 point conversion to Sutulovich made the score 14-6. 1 series later Angel Felix found Eric Garcia for a 55 yard TD pass to make the score 21-6. Coolidge added a FG to make the score at halftime 24-6.
Let me note that the TD pass by Felix was incredible. He was in the grasp of 2 defenders, was able to break free, throw the ball across the field to Garcia. Very impressive play.
In the second half things begin to change. Blue Ridge strikes first at the 9:00 minute mark when Jeremy Branch reaches pay dirt. Coolidge than looks to answer the score with a drive of their own, but a costly fumble gives the ball back to Blue Ridge and it seemed that maybe momentum was on their side, after a couple of flags are thrown Blue Ridge Bryce Talbot kicks a field goal to make it 24-16 Coolidge. Score at the end of the 3rd quarter Coolidge 24 Blue Ridge 16.
The 4th quarter was all Yellow Jackets. After a Anthony Martinez interception gets Blue Ridge back the ball, Bryan Randell finds the end zone, the Yellow Jackets take a shot at a two point conversion put it fails 24-22 Coolidge. Coolidge needs to just run out the clock and gain a few first downs and they have the title. But the Blue Ridge defense steps up to the plate and gets the ball back. Blue Ridge needing to get into field goal range to have a shot, gets a huge 1st down on 3rd and 12 with only :23 seconds left on the game clock. Which sets up a field goal attempt for the state championship by Bryce Talbot. Snaps back, hold is good, kick is up field goal good Blue Ridge 25 Coolidge 24 with less than 20 seconds on the clock. Coolidge gets decent field position following the return gives the Hail Mary a shot but it's knocked down by the defense. Game over final score Blue Ridge 25 Coolidge 24.
This was one of the greatest state championship games in recent history at any level. Both teams played one really good half of football. Blue Ridge wins another state championship and might lay claim to the best program in Arizona regardless of classification.