Desert Ridge runs for 462 yards, stuns Chandler in 1st round

November 12, 2010 by Les Willsey, AZPreps365

With a shift in emphasis to the running game late this season due to an injury to quarterback Parker Rasmussen,  Desert Ridge ran headlong into Chandler High in the first round of the 5A-I playoffs Friday night and ended up running all the way to the second round.

The Jaguars spread-run offense cranked out 462 yards rushing and the defense made a goal-line stand in the final 40 seconds to preserve a 38-35 upset win over the host Wolves.

Desert Ridge advances to face sister school Gilbert, also an upset winner (31-21 winner over Basha), in a Nov. 19 quarterfinal game at Desert Ridge.

Sophomore running back Kevin Walters scampered 18 yards for the go-ahead and winning touchdown with 4:46 left to give Desert Ridge its final score and margin of victory. Walter's TD capped a 95-yard scoring drive that began after the Jaguars forced a fumble inside the 10 by Chandler standout quarterback Brett Hundley. A Wolves score on that drive could have sealed the outcome, but instead Desert Ridge used it to begin their come-from-behind win.

It was a brilliant game for three Desert Ridge underclassmen on offense as junior quarterback Jordan Becerra guided the rushing attack that put up nearly 500 yards rushing. Junior running back Joey Counts rushed for a team-high 221 yards and two tocuhdowns. Becerra added 139 yards and two TDs and Walter chipped in with 95 yards on eight second-half carries.

"The difference was we didn't make many mistakes in the second half," Desert Ridge coach Jeremy Hathcock  said. "......I'm not surprised but I'm exhilarated. The kids have bought in and they played their hearts out tonight."

Desert Ridge overcame a fumble, interception and two blocked punts to amass all that offense and in the process limited Chandler to seven points in the second half -- none in the final period. Only one of Desert Ridge's turnovers cost it points.

Chandler marched from its 33 to the Desert Ridge 5 with under a minute to play, but as the Jaguars did on the previous series, they stopped Chandler not with a turnover but on downs. A fourth-and-1 run by Rufus Green failed to gain the necessary yardage as the Jaguars line jammed up the middle for the clinching stop.

"Can we have a new ending?, Chandler coach Jim Ewan said. "We played for the win (first down) and it didn''t work.  We had success doing that all year, but this time it didn't work."

The game was the last for Ewan as he's retiring. It was also the final game of Hundley's career, but the senior signal caller didn't go quietly. Hundley completed 17-of-21 passes for 284 yards and two touchdowns. He also ran for a TD.

Chandler wide out Javon Williams caught five passes for 142 yards and a one touchdown. He also blocked two punts, one setting up Chandler's second touchdown.