SAN TAN VALLEY — When two teams clash in a playoff rematch from the previous season, everyone hopes for a competitive, tough-nosed matchup between football players with something to prove.
That is exactly what we got out of Thursday night’s game between Poston Butte and Phoenix St. Mary’s and this time, it was the Broncos who came out on top, 41-21.
The Broncos’ win avenged last season’s first round loss to the Knights when they were sent home early despite having arguably the most talented roster in Poston Butte history; the Broncos were able to do it by enforcing their brand of football consistently throughout the game.
“We did a better job of executing things offensively this week,” Poston Butte coach Dain Thompson said. “Defensively, we had a number of penalties, so that hurt us and allowed them to extend some drives and with that brand of football, you can’t give them an extra five yards.”
It was a football game that resembled a boxing match; each team kept responding to the punches thrown by the other and the last team left standing was declared the winner.
Despite losing their starting senior quarterback to an injury earlier in the week and having to change their game plan on the fly, the Knights (0-2) continuously found ways to respond and made the Broncos (1-1) work for a full 48 minutes.
The Broncos defense was able to overcome numerous flags; they made two third down stops early, opening the door for the offense to take a 14-0 lead.
The Knights clawed back and were tied as late as the third quarter, but they were held to just one second half touchdown and the Broncos forced a fumble on the Knights’ last-ditch attempt to get back in the game.
Offensively, it was running back Octavious Joe, who made good after last week’s performance; he was finally able to showcase his explosiveness after being bottled up by American Leadership Academy — Queen Creek in week one. Joe, who started his second varsity game on Thursday, rushed for a whopping four touchdowns.
According to Thompson, Joe was hard on himself after last week’s loss and his performance against the Knights is a just taste of what is to come as he gets more carries throughout the season.
“Up front, they did a great job of blocking. They did a great job of executing in the box,” Thompson said. “And Octavious is just a stud and just such a hard worker, by far our best worker in the weight room and on the track and everything else. And he just hasn’t had that many live carries and every time he runs the ball in live situations, he’s going to get a little better and better.”
Although the Broncos eventually came out on top, it took nearly four quarters for them to pull away. A one-possession game late in the fourth quarter, quarterback Drew Dalmacio ran in a 25-yard touchdown to put the nail in the coffin; tight end Connor Lopez added a garbage time touchdown reception from Dalmacio to seal the deal.
The Broncos’ next matchup is scheduled for Sept. 17 when they take on Tucson Canyon Del Oro at home.