Poston Butte Northwest Christian football

Poston Butte running back Keith Gray tries to navigate the Northwest Christian defense on Friday.

SAN TAN VALLEY — After a wild game that saw the Poston Butte Broncos’ playoff hopes almost collapse in front of them last week, the Broncos are hoping for a more well-rounded performance in their quarterfinal match up against the Prescott Badgers.

The Broncos’ first round game against the No. 16 Phoenix Northwest Christian did not go how the team anticipated.

Poston Butte was down by four with just under two minutes left in the game. Needing a touchdown in order to advance, the Broncos marched all the way down the field, and scored on the final play of the game to survive and stay alive in the 4A State Championship playoffs.

“What I was thinking about was us moving the ball down the field as fast as we can,” Broncos head coach Dain Thompson said, discussing last week’s come from behind win. “Everybody was probably expecting us to throw it, but we run the ball, and we can pick up yards in chunks. It was just one of those situations where we were gonna do it until they stopped us.”

Luckily for the Broncos, the Crusaders were not able to stop the run game on that final drive, and the reward for the squad from San Tan Valley is a quarterfinal game at home against Prescott.

Quarter finals Class 4A State Championship. Casa Grande vs. St Mary's and Poston Butte vs. Prescott Friday November 26.

Although the Broncos did enough to get the win, it came at a price, as senior quarterback Drew Dalmacio went down with an injury. Despite the scare, Thompson seems optimistic that his senior signal caller will be able to suit up Friday night.

“He is doing really well, so we are gonna keep watching him and see how he does this week,” Thompson said. “I am going to anticipate that he is going to be able to play.”

Playing the Badgers will be no easy task for Poston Butte, as the Badgers defense racked up 32 sacks and 73 tackles for loss as a team.

Despite the tough match up ahead of them, Thompson is confident in his big guys up front, both on the offensive and defensive line. He said that he is looking for those two groups to set the tone for everyone else and help shift the momentum to the Broncos side of the field.

“I think some of our strengths are Cade Alisa leading the offensive line, that is a huge strength for us. So we are looking for him to be really productive in the trenches,” Thompson said. “Then we are going to look for Bobby Gaitan to lead the defensive line. I think this is definitely going to be a game where whoever wins the line of scrimmage is going to win the game.”

Although the Broncos have not had a lot of playoff experience in recent years, Thompson is confident in both his players, and his coaching staff to do enough to keep their state championship hopes alive, and send the Badgers home.

“This is really new ground for us here at Poston Butte, but I have a coaching staff that has been around for a long time, so we all know as coaches that winning any game in the playoffs is difficult,” Thompson said. “This week, we are just excited to be here, we don’t really look at the seeding because we all knew that the numbers don’t really matter. We know that we are going to have our best game if we want to move on and play another week.”

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David Church is a reporter covering Eloy, Arizona City and sports. He can be reached at dchurch@pinalcentral.com.

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