Two of the 25 best high school football teams in the country are located four miles away from each other in a Phoenix suburb. Hamilton High School (Chandler, Ariz.) dominated the rivalry over the first decade of its existence, winning 17 straight matchups between 1998 and 2012, but since, Chandler High School has owned the Battle For Arizona Avenue, winning every matchup since a 2013 playoff meeting.
Until this year. On Friday night, Hamilton regained the crown, taking home a 21-14 victory on the back of a defense that did not allow a single point after the first quarter.
With the win, the No. 16 Huskies ended Chandler’s 45-game winning streak and sent the No. 10 team packing.
It officially marks the end of a piece of history Hamilton does not want to remember, one far deeper than simple losses on the football field, but hazing scandal that resulted in arrests of players and reassignments of the principal, athletic director and head coach.
The emergence of Chandler as a football powerhouse removed Hamilton from its annual throne assumptions and the 2017 hazing lawsuit sank it further, dropping them to a 3-7 record in 2018 before the program quickly regrouped. The Huskies have been good, going 9-3 and 8-2 in the two seasons since, but has still trailed Chandler as the premier 6A team since.
The job will not be finished until the Open Division championships when the two teams will likely meet again, but there is no disputing it now: Hamilton is back.
Chandler had 56-yard and 50-yard touchdown passes in the first quarter, but the Huskies defense prevented the Wolves from doing any more. Chandler was sacked 10 times and did not record a first down until midway through the third quarter.
Hamilton’s defensive line was monstrous and saved the game for the Huskies. After Chandler forced a red zone fumble, Hamilton’s Chandler Davis got a strip-sack that led to a Hamilton touchdown.
The line came up huge on Chandler’s final drive as well. A long connection from three-star quarterback Blaine Hipa to Ohio State commit Kyion Grayes set the Wolves up at the 31-yard line and plenty of time to break hearts one more time. But the line got a sack to force third-and-16. They got a sack to force fourth-and-way-too-long. They forced a turnover on downs and let the offense run out the clock.
Hamilton’s defense is FLYING to the ball! Senior LB @TimmyWeddell blitzes off the left edge and sacks Chandler’s QB for a 7-yard loss – Hamilton regains possession up 21-14 with 2:20 left in the game @AZHSFB @gridironarizona pic.twitter.com/pm44bcQdux
— Cody Cameron (@CodyTCameron) November 13, 2021
West Virginia quarterback commit Nicco Marchiol played very conservatively, completing 12 of 19 passes for 79 yards and two touchdowns while rushing for 24 more yards on 11 carries. Logan Krei, a two-sport athlete and highly ranked baseball player, rushed for 98 yards on 12 carries, including a 15-yard touchdown.
Hamilton’s national announcement of return was in their bonkers comeback win over Bishop Gorman near the beginning of the season, but locally, they were still No. 2. This win turns the page to a new chapter of Huskies football.
It’s not over until the champion has been anointed, but now, for the first time in eight years, Hamilton runs Arizona Avenue.