Having played QB, Brophy head coach Scooter Molander knows QBs have up and down nights and his QB Conor Hearn had one Roller Coaster of a night. Hearn threw four picks and four touchdowns as Brophy defeated Mt. Ridge 31-24 in a 5AI showdown of undefeated teams.
In the first quarter, Mt.Ridge struck first on a nice twenty-six yard touchdown pass from QB Chris Johnston to wideout Josh Morrow. The 6'4 Morrow out jumped two Brophy defenders for the score. The score was set up by an interception and nineteen yard return by Mt. Ridge linebacker Kyle Bucklin. This was the only score of the first quarter as Hearn threw another pick and Mt.Ridge missed a long field goal try. Mt.Ridge 7 Brophy 0.
In the second quarter the defensive play of Brophy linebacker Andrew Serrano helped set up ten Bronco points. First, Serrano picked Johnston which eventually led to a Hearn twenty-three yard field goal. Later Serrano recovered a fumble inside the Mt. Ridge twenty. One play later Hearn found receiver Allen Hunter on the post corner for the score. On the ensuing drive Mt.Ridge rebounded, head coach Steve Belles called a nice mix of short passes and timely runs to move the ball briskly on the Broncs. The eighty-three yard drive was capped by a twenty yard touchdown run by Jordan Scott on a wingback reverse. Brophy then returned the favor on their next series. A twenty-seven yard run by Nick Natale got the drive going. The Mt. Ridge D slowed Brophy and forced them into a fourth and ten situation from the Mt. Ridge thirty-three. Choosing to go for it, Hearn hit Bart Stires in the end zone for the score. Mt.Ridge was able to move the ball quickly aided by two late hit penalties on the Brophy D and three completions from Chris Johnston. This set up a thirty-five yard field goal attempt by Jeff Locke. Locke hit the field goal with 6.5 seconds left in the half knotting the score 17-17 going into the locker room.
The pace of the third quarter slowed from the flurry of the second quarter as Mt. Ridge worked on establishing the run. After a long opening drive, Mt.Ridge failed to score when they missed a field goal. Brophy could not get anything going on O and sputtered on their lone drive of the quarter keeping the score 17-17 at the end of third.
The original pace of the game returned when Hearn threw a pick early in the fourth that was returned thirty-eight yards for a score by Mt.Ridge linebacker David Fresenius. The PAT was good putting Ridge in the lead 24-17. The following Brophy drive is stopped when Mt.Ridge DB Jonathan Ott picks Hearn. Mt.Ridge was unable to move and has to punt from deep in its own territory. On the next play, Hearn hits Mike Gianolla for a forty yard TD pass. PAT good, game tied 24-24. Again Mt.Ridge is forced to punt and Brophy is able to capitalize. Junior RB Nick Natale of Brophy goes twenty-two yards on a shovel pass and adds sixteen more yards on the next two carries putting Brophy on the Mt.Ridge seventeen where Conor Hearn finds Matt Smith in the corner of the end zone for a score. PAT good Brophy 31 Mt.Ridge 24. The Brophy D holds getting the ball back to the O and the Broncos are able to run out the clock making the Final Brophy 31 Mt.Ridge 24.
Bottom Line: These two teams were very evenly matched in every aspect of the ball game as shown by the close score that came down to the last few minutes. Conor Hearn showed a ton of guts to dust himself off and throw two late TDs after throwing two picks in the fourth, one of which went for a Mt. Ridge score. Both of these teams are solid and may see each other again in playoffs. Last year the teams split with Brophy winning early in the season and Mt.Ridge winning in the state semi-finals.
Game Balls: Two juniors Andrew Serrano of Brophy and Jonathan Ott of Mt. Ridge made big defensive plays all night. The Brophy offensive line was able to get solid production from back up runners Thomas Tejada and Nick Natale as Rahnee Dennard did not play.