Desert Vista made the trip up north of Phoenix to Anthem Friday night and managed to hold off a late comeback by Boulder Creek to take home the 45-37 win.
Meanwhile, Mountain Pointe hosted Chaparral but struggled to get anything going on offense against the Firebirds, as the Pride fell 28-9.
The Thunder came out of the gate strong, scoring a touchdown on the first drive of the game. After the touchdown, Thunder linebacker Zack McGinnis had an interception on Boulder Creek’s quarterback Bear Milacek that he ran back for an 8-yard touchdown on the first snap of the Jag’s drive.
Thunder quarterback Parker Navarro and wide receiver Elijah Ervin really showed chemistry in the win tonight. The duo accounted for 130 passing yards and two touchdowns on three different plays in the first half of the game alone. Connecting on explosive plays is something the two really make sure to put an emphasis on.
“In practice, we work on getting the timing down and usually after practice, we’ll get a couple more routes in just to stay connected on those,” Ervin said.
Desert Vista began to struggle offensively in the second half, as Boulder Creek started to climb back into the game. But a 94-yard touchdown run by Colby Humphrey ultimately lifted the Thunder over the Jaguars.
The Thunder (6-2, 2-1) will take on Corona del Sol (3-5, 1-2) next week for homecoming and senior night.
While Desert Vista was able to get it done on the road, Mountain Pointe had trouble finding an offensive rhythm at home.
The Pride came out early with several different formations, directly snapping the ball to several running backs and receivers to try and trick the Firebirds. Coach Rich Wellbrock said the plays were an attempt at finding a new identity. It worked at first, too.
Mountain Pointe reeled off several long runs, even scoring a second-quarter touchdown on a nine-yard rush by senior linebacker Rashion "Chunka" Hodge.
“It was all just trying new things out, getting the ball into everyone’s hands. We have so many fast and talented players that we just wanted to spread it around and use that to our advantage,” senior running back Resi Shank said.
On the other end, Chaparral’s offense moved the ball easily to start. Firebird senior quarterback Jack Miller evaded a solid pass rush with his quick feet, finding time to hit receivers downfield. And near the end zone, Chaparral junior running back Jared Williams was able to score three touchdowns on the ground.
Though Chaparral tried their best to grow the lead, using both the run and pass, the Pride’s defense tightened up. Mountain Pointe’s offense could not move the ball consistently, but Wellbrock was “really proud” of the way his defense adjusted after a tough first two quarters.
“Everyone really stepped up in the second (half),” Wellbrock said.
The Pride (1-7) will host Desert Ridge (4-4) on October 25, who come off consecutive big wins over region rivals Desert Vista and Queen Creek.
AFN staff writer Eric Newman and contributing writer Brittany Bowyer contributed to this report.