Like a fine wine...?
Phoenix Desert Vista coach Dan Hinds may have other ideas.
"The way I always describe it to the kids: we're like a boulder rolling down a hill," Hinds said following his team's 38-14 win over Phoenix Brophy Prep - the Thunder's fifth straight win overall and third in a row in the vaunted Class 5A Fiesta Region. "That boulder is rolling down the hill, gaining momentum, and by the time it gets near the bottom, it's knocking trees down.
"That's what we are."
Not on too many radar screens to start the season, the Thunder (7-2, 3-1 Fiesta Region) have not only firmly secured themselves into a playoff berth, but likely a first-round home game as well.
On Friday at Phoenix College, riding the arm of quarterback Hunter Rodriguez and a deep stable of receivers and backs, Desert Vista used a big third quarter to pull away from Brophy (4-5, 2-3), now under .500 overall and likely needing a win in their finale next week against Yuma just to reach the state playoffs.
The Thunder's third quarter wasn't necessarily big in terms of points; they added a modest nine ticks to their 16-14 advantage, leading 25-14 entering the final frame.
What was big, however, was how the Thunder did it. Desert Vista held the ball for more than 10 minutes in that third quarter, with defensive lineman Spencer Schumacher recovering a fumble at the Brophy 13-yard line and defensive back Matt Geranen intercepting a pass to thwart a decent Bronco drive.
Brophy managed just six offensive plays in that third quarter, including three running plays for 3 yards and three pass attempts - turning the ball over twice.
"Well, you can't win football games when you turn the ball over like we did," said Brophy head coach Scooter Molander.
After the teams traded touchdowns through most of the first two quarters, Desert Vista went up 16-14 inside three minutes to play in the half thanks to a 31-yard field goal by John Gieseking. As time wore down, it looked like the Broncos might go into the half with a lead, but a 28-yard try by Zac Bryan floated wide left with 13 seconds to play. Brophy would never get back on track.
"We had an opportunity for a field goal right before the half. That's a momentum thing," Molander said. "And they ran the ball effectively against us. We did get stops, but we didn't capitalize."
With usual suspects Michael Arredondo and Michael Ingrassia picking up most of Desert Vista's yardage on the ground - Ingrassia scored on a 47-yard touchdown in the first, Arredondo from five yards out to put the game away in the fourth - Rodriguez was especially efficient through the air.
The junior spread the ball around to seven different receivers, completing 14 of 15 passes at one point as the Thunder extended their slim halftime lead into a comfortable margin.
Rodriguez finished 15 of 20 for 185 yards and a touchdown, with no interceptions.
On the first play of the second quarter just inside midfield, Rodriguez hit receiver Shaw Loomer in stride on a short slant, with Loomer doing the rest of the work to speed past one diving Brophy defensive back. Another defensive back hurdled the first one, and by that point, Loomer was cruising into the end zone for the 49-yard catch-and-run touchdown.
Hinds said Loomer, generously listed at 5-foot-8 and 150 pounds, fits a mold that his Desert Vista teams have been accustomed to at the wide receiver position in recent seasons.
"In our short passing game, those kind of guys work great," Hinds said. "If you look across the board and in college, you see some of the great receivers, they don't really need to be that big. If they can run routes, get open and catch a football, that's all you need. Shaw's that guy."
Brophy attempted to throw the Thunder off guard all night with its own shifty passing game. With brothers Josh and Marche Dennard handling most of the ground duties - Marche opened the game's scoring with a 3-yard run late in the first quarter - quarterback's Greg Wirth and Frederick Gammage often shared the field at the same time, combining to complete 11 of 12 pass attempts to open the game.
Gammage and Devon Allen connected for a 75-yard touchdown with six minutes remaining the second quarter to cap Brophy's scoring relatively early.
Aaron Smith and Kaleb Germinaro, along with a second 31-yard field goal from Gieseking, rounded out Desert Vista's scoring plays with touchdown runs of 1 and 12 yards, respectively.
"It's good playing behind a guy like (Arredondo)," said Germinaro, a sophomore scoring his first career touchdown. "That's my first one, so it is the best, really."
For Brophy, next week's trip to Yuma (2-7 overall after a win Friday night over Yuma Kofa) now means much more than just a chance to bond on the long bus ride.
If the Broncos don't take care of business, chances are that at 4-6 overall, the 2005 and 2007 Class 5A-Division I state champions would be in real danger of missing the playoffs altogether.
"It's important for us to certainly get this next ballgame," Molander said. "It's critical."
Desert Vista wraps up its regular season at home against Mesa Red Mountain. The Mountain Lions fell 37-0 to unbeaten Chandler Hamilton Friday.
Desert Vista 6 10 9 13 38
Brophy Prep 7 7 0 0 14
Desert Vista Brophy
First downs 18 14
Rushes -yards 36-164 22-102
Passing yards 185 147
Comp-Att-Int 15-20-0 14-24-1
Fumbles-lost 2-1 4-3
Penalties-yards 3-30 5-60
Phoenix Desert Vista (7-2, 3-1 Fiesta Region) defeated Phoenix Brophy Prep (4-5, 2-3) 38-14 in a region matchup Friday night at Phoenix College.
Trailing 7-6 at the start of the second quarter, Desert Vista's Shaw Loomer caught the short slant from Hunter Rodriguez and took off for a 49-yard touchdown to give the Thunder a 13-7 lead.
PLAYER OF THE GAME:
Desert Vista quarterback Hunter Rodriguez completed 15 of 20 passes for 185 yards and a touchdown, with no interceptions.
Desert Vista scored 9 points in the third quarter. Brophy ran just six offensive plays (turning the ball over twice).
B -- M. Dennard 3 run (Bryan kick) (3:57, 1st)
DV -- Ingrassia 47 run (kick failed) (2:30, 1st)
DV -- Loomer 47 pass from Rodriguez (Gieseking kick) (11:52, 2nd)
B -- Allen 75 pass from Gammage (Bryan kick) (6:08, 2nd)
DV -- Gieseking 31 field goal (2:51, 2nd)
DV -- Smith 1 run (kick failed) (7:46, 3rd)
DV -- Gieseking 31 field goal (0:41, 3rd)
DV -- Arredondo 5 run (Gieseking kick) (4:37, 4th)
DV -- Germinaro 14 run (kick failed) (0:47, 4th)