Marcos reached the title game after years of getting stuck in the semi-finals. Chaparral makes their second straight appearence despite moving up from 4A1. Last year the took a loss to Saguaro but this would be the year for Coach Ragle and the Firebirds as they pulled out a 34-21 win at Sun Devil Stadium.
Early in the game the ball was bouncing Marcos' way. The Padres recovered a muffed punt inside Chaparral territory on their first series but were unable to capitalize. But on their second possession WR Justin Rodriguez recovered their own fumble and advanced it to the 9 yard line. Rodriguez made a sweet catch on a fade route from Zach Schira to give Marcos a 7-0 lead.
Chaparral's offense continued to sputter on their second series as penalties stalled what looked to be a promising drive as they got the ball at the 45 yard line.
But this is where the tide turned for the Firebirds. Punter Victor McBride pinned Marcos at the 2 yard line. A false start moved the ball to the 1 and on the next play Schira and the center had a bad exchange that lead to a fumble that was recovered by Chaparral's Chris Fox in the endzone for a TD. The PAT was no good, 7-6 Marcos.
Marcos couldn't get a drive going and punted the ball back to Chap and two huge runs later, the Firebirds had their first lead of the game. Cole Tyree rumbled 30 yards and Dwayne Garrett scored from 50 yards out for his first of four TDs on the night. 13-7 Chaparral at the end of 1.
Hunter Gregg picked off Schira on the next series and Garrett got in from a yard out to put Chaparral up 20-7.
The last few minutes of the 2nd quarter had huge implications in this game. Marcos looked to gain some momentum back scoring a TD with two minutes left in the half. Dominic Sotelo raced 35 yards to the 4 yard line and scored a few plays later to make it 20-14.
On the next series, it looked like Marcos would get the ball back with a chance to take the lead back but on 3rd and long Chaparral QB Connor Brewer hit Danny Trittler for a 64 yard gain that put the ball inside the 5. Brewer scored on a QB sneak a few plays later and Chaparral took a 27-14 lead with 35 seconds left in the half.
Many thought Marcos would take a knee and regroup and go into half. Nope. Junior RB Anthony Shivers raced 75 yards on the first play to the 5 yard line. CB Brendan Murphy saved the TD for Chaparral. Marcos gained 4 yards on the next three plays and faced a 4th and goal situation at the 1. A false start moved them to the 6 and instead of kicking the field goal, Marcos went for it but it was unsuccessful and they went into halftime down 27-14.
On Chap's first series of the second half Brewer hit Garrett for a 63 yard score that put the Firebirds up 34-14.
Chaparral's defense forced a 3 and out and had clear momentum but on Chap's next drive the center snapped the ball over Brewer's head and Ramon Abreu recovered for Marcos.
Abreu punched the ball in for the Padres and pulled them within two scores. 34-21 Chaparral.
But this was as close as Marcos would get as the Chaparral defense put a ton of pressure on Schira and effectively shut down the Marcos offense.
Final 34-21 Chaparral
Congrats to Chaparral on the win. They took advantage of some Marcos mistakes and got the W. Marcos had chances but penalties really hurt their chances of winning. Not scoring right before the half hurt as well. A score would have given them some momentum.
Chaparral capped a season with high expectations with a solid win over a very good Marcos team.
Chaparral RB Dwayne Garrett. He had 107 yards rushing and 2 TDs and added a 65 yard scoring reception.