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CHAMPIONSHIP: Division IV
SCORE: Pusch Ridge 14, Northwest Christian 7
DATE: November 28, 2015
SITE: Scottsdale Chaparral High School
GAME SUMMARY: Pusch Ridge was scoreless through the first 36 minutes of the game after not being able to cash in on three turnovers caused by the Lions’ defense and the team did not complete a pass by then (although two of the passes were caught by the Northwest Christian defense).
Things looked dire for Pusch Ridge, which took over possession at its own 1-yard line with 10:00 remaining after an interception thwarted a Northwest Christian scoring attempt.
Magic struck again for Pusch Ridge.
The Lions mounted a late rally to win their third consecutive game, resulting in the school’s first state championship.
Pusch Ridge (13-1) previously beat Mohave Valley River on the game’s last play of the quarterfinals and defeated Lake Havasu in overtime in the semifinals.
After the Lions drove the ball from their 1-yard to the Northwestern Christian 18, Cody Cropp — son of Pusch Ridge coach Troy Copp — completed his first pass of the game. It was an 18-yard scoring strike to Ben Walker that tied the game at 7 with 5:05 left.
Northwest Christian’s sixth turnover of the game — a fumble deep into its territory — proved fatal. A fumble gave Pusch Ridge possession on the Northwest Christian 7-yard line.
Three plays later, Tamerat McLeod score the go-ahead touchdown with 1:11 remaining on a 2-yard run.
Pusch Ridge’s defense shut down Northwest Christian most of the night and it forced a turnover on downs in the wanining seconds to secure the victory.
DID YOU KNOW: Former Arizona receiver Lamar Lovett, an assistant coach at Pusch Ridge, broke into a break dance on the field after the victory. He performed backflips and cartwheels as part of his celebration, which has become his trademark with the Lion program after a victory.
THEY SAID IT: “It’s kind of like a cardiac team — check your heart meds at the door.” — Pusch Ridge coach Troy Copp after his Lions rallied very late for three straight wins to win the state championship.