- Tyler Harden
Chandler picks up big win over Hamilton in “The Battle for Arizona Ave.”
Photo Credit: azcentral.com
CHANDLER, ARIZONA— It isn’t too often that cross-town rivals happen to be arguably the two best teams in the state, but that’s the case for the Chandler-Hamilton rivalry, better known as “The Battle for Arizona Ave.” The game was also a part of the GEICO High School Bowl Series. Chandler came into the rivalry ranked as a Top 10 high school football team in the country, and the Wolves had a lot to protect. Chandler has won 32 games in a row, making a valid case on why they might be the best high school football program in Arizona. The Wolves also wanted to keep their number 1 state ranking. But most of all, they wanted to knock off Hamilton. Hamilton is a Top 25 team in the country, led by junior quarterback, Nicco Marchiol. The Huskies were set to head on the road to play in the tough environment at Chandler, to settle who the best team is Arizona is, and who runs the city of Chandler.
The Chandler defense came up big to start the game, forcing a fumble and recovered by linebacker, Kyle Orr, at the Hamilton 38-yard line. The Hamilton defense then executed, as they forced a big loss off of a sack, and came up with a big stop to force a turnover. Nicco Marchiol led the Huskies down the field, and capped off the drive with a completed pass to tight end, Michael Masunas, for a touchdown (PAT good). The Chandler defense answered, as running back, Eli Sanders, found a hole to the left, and ran all the way to the Hamilton 49-yard line. Shortly after, Sanders ran past defenders for 32 yards and a touchdown to tie the game (PAT good). When the Huskies got the ball on their next possession, Chandler found their rhythm. Cornerback, Travis Roberts, intercepted a pass, and returned it to the Hamilton 16-yard line. By the end of the first quarter, the game was tied at 7.
After starting the second quarter with great field position, the Wolves couldn’t get in the end zone, and were forced to settle for a 30-yard field goal to take a 10-7 lead. The Hamilton offense then found their rhythm, as Rodney Clemente ran the ball all the way to the Chandler 1-yard line. Nicco Marchiol then kept it himself, and reached into the end zone for a 1-yard touchdown to give the Huskies a 14-10 lead (PAT good). Chandler quarterback, Mikey Keene, then led the Wolves down the field, with a pass to Jalen Richmond for a first down to their own 45-yard line, and another pass to Richmond to the Hamilton 23-yard line. Keene found Richmond again to cap off the drive, this time in the end zone to put the Wolves up 17-14 (PAT good). After the end of the first half, Chandler had a 17-14 lead.
Tyler Brooks started the second half off great for Chandler, as he returned the opening kickoff to their own 47-yard line. Mikey Keene then found Jalen Richmond for a deep ball down to the Hamilton 22-yard line. Keene kept his rhythm on the next play, as he found Kyion Grayes wide open in the end zone to put the Wolves up 24-14 (PAT good). After a forced Hamilton punt, Keene found Kyion Grayes for another deep ball down at the Hamilton 11-yard line. However, after Eli Sanders ran up the middle for a touchdown, the play was called back due to an illegal formation penalty. Therefore, the Wolves were forced to settle for a 23-yard field goal to go up 27-14. Just when it couldn’t get any worse for Hamilton, it did. Nicco Marchiol took a tough hit to his throwing shoulder, and was forced to leave the game with a little less than 5 minutes left in the 3rd quarter. Chandler had a 27-14 lead going into the fourth quarter.
The Chandler defense kept their momentum going into the final quarter, as they forced a fumble on 4th down to turn the ball over to the offense. Keene then did what he had been doing all game, as he found Kyion Grayes on 3rd and 6 for a 1st down. Keene then found Grayes again for a 42-yard deep ball and a touchdown to likely secure the win. The Hamilton offense couldn’t answer, and Chandler had left with a 34-14 victory.
Chandler moves to 7-0 on the season, and has now won 33 straight games. The Wolves will take on Desert Edge next week at home on Friday, November 27th at 10 PM ET. Hamilton suffers their first loss of the season, falling to 6-1. The Huskies will take on Corona del Sol next week on Friday, November 27th at 10 PM ET.