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Risk before halftime pays off for Palo Verde in playoff win, helps set up showdown with Gorman

Palo Verde Prepares for Desert Vista

Steve Marcus

Palo Verde High School’s Parker Rost talks to his father, coach Darwin Rost during practice at the school Tuesday, Aug. 7, 2012. Palo Verde will face Desert Vista High School (Arizona) in the Sollenberger Classic at the University of Phoenix Stadium in Arizona on Aug. 18.

Palo Verde High beat Legacy in Sunset playoffs

KSNV reports that Palo Verde High defeated Legacy High in the final regular season football game, Nov. 2.

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Palo Verde HIgh football coach Darwin Rost could have been conservative and attempted a field goal Friday at the end of the first half against visiting Legacy in the Sunset Regional quarterfinals.

The Panthers were at the Legacy 3-yard line with about five seconds remaining before halftime, giving them enough time to run one play.

A short field goal would have given them a three-point halftime lead, while going for a touchdown came with the risk of no points and allowing underdog Legacy to gain confidence it could pull off the upset.

Rost’s gamble paid off.

His son, junior quarterback Parker Rost, rushed in for a touchdown for a seven-point halftime lead, and Palo Verde kept the momentum early in the third quarter in extending its lead to double digits in a 28-16 victory.

The win puts the Panthers in next week's Sunset Regional semifinals at three-time defending state champion Bishop Gorman, their biggest rival. The game has set NIAA attendance records in past seasons and is considered by several the most significant contest of the season in terms of interest.

Coach Rost knows being conservative won’t win many games. He set the tone Friday night with the gutsy call against Legacy.

“(Our plan) was to go for the win. The last couple of games, we played to hold on,” the coach said. “This week we went for the win and wanted to play hard every play.”

When Parker Rost called the Panthers’ final timeout of the half after a short rush by Lee Griggs brought the ball to the Legacy 3, several assumed the Panthers would bring out the field goal unit for the sure thing. Instead, they rolled the dice.

“We took the risk of trying to get some momentum going into halftime,” Parker Rost said.

The rest of the game belonged to senior Ryan Beaulieu. He caught three passes for 191 yards and three touchdowns, opening the scoring four minutes into the game with a 51-yard scoring strike from Rost.

With the game close in the second quarter and early in the third, Beaulieu went to coaches and expressed confidence he could beat the single-coverage defense on the outside.

He stayed true to his prediction.

He caught a 77-yard touchdown from Griggs to open the scoring in the third quarter and give Palo Verde a 21-7 lead. After a Legacy field goal, Beaulieu again scored on a long pass, hauling in a ball from Rost for a 59-yard score.

“We saw the safeties playing up and they were just trying stop the run,” Beaulieu said. “The corner was pressing me, so I knew it was one-on-one to see if he could cover me. I got behind him and scored.”

Duplicating the effort next week against Gorman will be easier said than done.

Gorman hasn’t lost to a local opponent since falling to Palo Verde in the 2008 playoffs, and while the games have been close at times the past three seasons, Gorman has posted double-digit victories each year.

For players on both sides, it’s a game they wait all year to play in.

“The fans are getting what they want. It’s all we can ask for,” Beaulieu said. “It’s a really big rivalry that everyone loves going to and being part of.”

Legacy’s Charles Julian rushed for more than 100 yards and scored a late touchdown on a 15-yard reception from Devin Williams.

Ray Brewer can be reached at 990-2662 or [email protected]. Follow Ray on Twitter at

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