Arizona Republic sports writer Richard Obert covers Phoenix Brophy Prep, the No. 1 ranked high school football team in Arizona. The Broncos are playing for the pride of Arizona, and Obert—along with Martin Henderson of Patch—has compiled a list of reasons why Brophy Prep (1-0) will defeat Santa Margarita (0-0), which is ranked as high as No. 1 in the nation by rivals.com and no worse than No. 4 by four different ranking entities.
- Read Obert's original story, "Breaking Down Brophy-Santa Margarita"
It's a stellar way to begin the high school football season in Orange County. The game will be broadcast on ESPN2 on Saturday, 7 p.m.
Reasons Brophy Prep will beat Santa Margarita:
1. Brophy Prep got a game in, albeit three days before this matchup. Nobody got hurt and the Broncos should be more loose and ready to roll even though the game even though it will be Brophy's second in four days.
2. Quarterback Tyler Bruggman (Washington State) and wide receiver Devon Allen comprise one of the nation’s most dynamic passing duos, as evidenced in a 37-14 win over Glendale Mountain Ridge on Wednesday night. Bruggman threw for 345 yards, 199 of those to Allen, who caught 64- and 70-yard touchdown passes.
3. Three starters—linebacker Andrew Curtis, No. 2 receiver Clarence Clark and running back Marche Dennard—are expected to play after missing Wednesday’s game. Curtis brings a whole new dimension to the Brophy defense with his quickness and sure tackling. Clark will keep Santa Margarita from keying on Allen, because of his big-play capabilities. Dennard gives Brophy a strong downhill runner.
4. Brophy coach Scooter Molander did everything he could to save this game and he’s not about to have his team lay an egg on ESPN2. The matchup appeared dead in May because the Arizona Interscholastic Association’s executive board wasn’t going to allow early games for teams if it wasn’t to fill out a 10-gtame schedule; the big-time interstate contest was saved by moving it to Week 1 and getting Mountain Ridge to move its opener up a couple of days. After all that hoop-jumping, Brophy will be highly motivated to make good on the opportunity.
5. Brophy’s seniors are talented, close and determined to put Arizona on the high school football map with a colossal effort. There are at least eight seniors who could wind up with four-year college football scholarships.
6. Brophy will take advantage of Santa Margarita's questionable defensive line. If there's a question mark about the Eagles, it has to do with their defensive front. Give Bruggman time to make things happen and he will. Create a hole for Dennard or Will Edwards to hit and they will hit it. The Broncos, who scored on their first three possessions against Mountain Ridge, showed they can be sharp early, and that can put Santa Margarita in a hole—on the road.
7. The transfer of Alex Suchesk diminishes the depth in the Santa Margarita backfield. Though Ryan Wolpin—listed at 5-9, 190—is tough, he's not invincible. Wolpin (1,637 yards, 27 touchdowns) was knocked out of a game last year and Suchesk picked up without any dropoff. The Eagles don't have that luxury if Wolpin gets hurt again.
8. The home field advantage in this game has to be worth at least seven points, doesn't it?
9. For all of Santa Margarita's excellence last season, the Eagles could have lost three of their last six games. They did lose to Servite in overtime in the Trinity League finale, and they trailed Mission Viejo and San Jose Bellarmine Prep in the fourth quarter. They're good, but they're not made of steel.
10. First games are tough, especially when opponents are credible enough to push the envelope. First games are used to iron out the kinks and to learn what areas need to be improved. Coaches universally agree that the biggest improvement all season comes between Game 1 and Game 2. Advantage, Brophy Prep, which has one victory in the books and has a foothold on adding a second.