It was the game everyone had talked
about all summer. Defending 5A-2
state champions, the Centennial Coyotes traveling cross town to take on the
defending 5A-1 champs, the Hamilton Huskies, winners of three of the past four
big school championships. When the
dust settled, and the final snap was taken, about the only thing you could do
was take a deep breath and go "WOW".
This game had a bit of
everything. Dazzling plays,
penalties, strategy, mistakes, and a controversial call that might have been the
difference in the game.
Centennial took the opening kickoff
and after a fine return by junior John Hughes gave them good field position
around midfield, capitalized on a
Scott Burgett to Adam Shipley toss and grab. Hamilton's Zach Moore blocked the extra point
and the Coyotes led 6-0.
After holding the Huskies on downs
and forcing a punt, Centennial's Jarrell Barbour, bound for ASU next year, took
Moore's punt on the near sideline, went cross
field and outran the Hamilton special team for an electrifying 71
yard punt return for a touchdown that set off a wild celebration on the Coyote
sideline. Another Moore block of an extra
point did little to deter the visitor's enthusiasm. 12 points up and more to come.
Another stand by the Centennial
defense and, again, it was Barbour who came up with a big play. Burgett connected with him on a fade to
the end zone and it looked like the improbable could happen. Despite a missed 2 point conversion, the
Coyotes had an 18 -0 lead and, best of all, momentum on their side.
The Husky defense then made a
stand, stopping Centennial on fourth down and taking over at their own 35 yard
line. Covaughn Deboskie scored the
first of his 3 touchdowns to put Hamilton on the board. Centennial then made the first of what
would turn out to be several critical mistakes on their part. A bobbled reverse attempt turned the
ball back over to the Huskies, where they scored on a nifty 18 yard option to
fullback Nathan Jeffrey. The
Coyotes failed to cover the ensuing kickoff and Hamilton again converted on another Deboskie TD
after senior signal caller Justin Peters and all-everything Gerell Robinson
hooked up on long pass inside the five yard line. Three scores in three minutes and the
Huskies had the lead for the first time 21-18.
The Coyotes drove the ball down the
field and with under 10 seconds to play in the half, they went to the Barbour
well again, another fade to the end zone that Jarrell snared to scored the
apparent go ahead touchdown. The
flag on the play said otherwise.
The guys in the zebra stripes whistled Barbour for an offensive pass
interference call that was questionable at best. Halftime score, Hamilton 21 Centennial
The second half was an opportunity
for the Hamilton
defense to show it's teeth.
Harassing Burgett and shutting down the running game, the Huskies forced
their will upon the Coyotes.
Burgett threw three second half interceptions, one less than all last
season, under some big time pressure from the likes of Ruben Rubio, Elliot
Harper, and junior Michael
Sylvestre. Hamilton kept the ball on
the ground most of the third quarter, Deboskie scoring the last of his
touchdowns to expand the lead. And
Peters and Robinson hooked up on the final score, a 33 yarder in the fourth that
the uber-athletic Gerell picked up just off the ground and took it to the end
zone. Hamilton was able to
prevent Barbour and the rest of the Coyote playmakers from making anything
happen in the second half. Final
score: Hamilton 35 Centennial
Lots of game balls to give out in
this game. Barbour was probably the
best player on the field. He did it
all, returning kicks, catching passes, covering receivers, and dishing out some
punishment defensively. He could be something special on the next level. TE/LB Adam Shipley was another Coyote
who did it on both sides of the line.
He played a great game. For Hamilton, give a ball to the Huskies coaching
staff who didn't panic when they went down 18 points, keeping their team
composed. Also, linebacker Zach
Moore deserves a ball for blocking the two extra points and keeping his punts
away from Barbour after the touchdown return. He also played tough defense. Deboskie was solid, running for over 100
yards to go with his three scores.
And Peters did a solid job taking over for Robinson in the first
half. The senior isn't fancy, he
just gets the job done. Oh yeah,
don't forget the Husky secondary, who picked off the three Burgett passes in the
We won't see it, but what a rematch this would be later in the
season. On a humid night in
Chandler, the valley of the Sun got to see what
school football was all about.