Willow Canyon beats Shadow Ridge on second chance field goal
Sam Ganczaruk For West Valley Preps
Jared Stangler knew his 45-yard game-winning field goal attempt wasn’t going to be good as soon as the ball left his foot Friday.
As the ball fell short the senior kicker realized he was laying on his back and a pink flag laid at his side. A Shadow Ridge roughing penalty allowed the Willow Canyon kicker a reprieve.
Stangler lined up for an untimed down and drilled the 31-yard field goal to defeat crosstown rival Shadow Ridge, 21-19.
“I was nervous as heck, especially on the first one,” said Stangler, who also connected on a 29-yard field goal in the second quarter. “I knew it was out of my range. The second one was clean.”
Willow Canyon (2-7, 2-3 section) had led 18-13 with 7:42 remaining in the game but host Shadow Ridge drove to the Wildcats 19 yard line and was faced with a 4th-and-13. Senior quarterback Austin Ansbach frantically stepped up in the pocket and found Tre Campbell for 19-yard TD strike.
“Our kids kept fighting,” Willow Canyon coach Joe Martinez said. “It was a very redeeming moment for our boys. We’ve been on the other end of this all season long.”
Shadow Ridge (2-7, 1-4) tried to hold off Willow Canyon but quarterback Bradley Aud was leading the final drive. Aud had been inserted the fourth quarter by Martinez to provide a spark, and that he did.
Aud found standout senior wideout Grant Carpenter early in the drive for 17 yards and a 5-yard out pass to Jerry Mercado. Aud also handed the ball to Mike Wilson for runs of 11, 10 and four yards to set up the game-winning field goal.
The teams headed to the break tied at 10 and the Stallions led 13-12 after three.
“We didn’t give up the ball in the second half,” said Carpenter, who also caught a 5-yard TD pass in the first quarter. “Our offense drove down the field and made a couple of big plays to set up the kick.”
Carpenter caught 5 passes for 53 yards. Wilson rushed 16 times for 105 yards, including a 3-yard TD run early in the fourth quarter.
“We are trying to become the kings of Surprise,” Carpenter said.
Next week the Wildcats will have their chance. They host their biggest rival Valley Vista (4-5) in the season finale.
The Monsoon sport the best record of all three Surprise schools after knocking off Goodyear Millennium 21-20 Friday but were buried 38-12 by Shadow Ridge a month ago.