Watch: Gilbert’s Chad Leaphart discusses win over Lexington
It was a battle of strength against strength Friday night between offensive powerhouse Gilbert and defensive-minded Lexington. That was until Jy Tolen decided to take over.
The Indians senior quarterback threw three touchdown passes in the third quarter to propel Gilbert a 31-14 victory to even the all-time series between the schools at 1-1.
“I don’t even know where to start, this is so huge,” Gilbert coach Chad Leaphart said. “We’ve always been the little brother so much so that we’ve never played in almost 50 years of football until last year. So many of our people here know people over there and vice versa, and same with our kids and coaches. It’s a huge win for this community.”
Gilbert’s offense came in averaging 57 points and 571 yards a game but had to figure out how to attack a Lexington defense allowing three points and 132 yards. It took nearly a half, but once they figured it out, it heavily involved Tolen.
The Indians (3-0) turned it over twice on downs in the red zone in the first half but received a huge momentum boost just before the break. Tolen threw a 3-yard jump pass to Alec Holt to tie it at seven with five seconds remaining in the half.
Those were the first points Lexington had allowed in the first half this season.
That set the stage for the explosive third quarter. Gilbert’s Dre Cook intercepted a pass to halt the first Lexington drive. It took Tolen just four plays to cover the 55 yards and he capped it with a 30-yard touchdown strike to a streaking Dre Harris.
The Wildcats (2-1) answered with a 60-yard touchdown pass from Elijah Ogden to Tristian Allen, who finished with 109 yards on five catches.
But Tolen went right back to work. He guided an 11-play, 73-yard drive that ended with a 16-yard touchdown pass to Matt Reed. After the Gilbert defense forced a three-and-out, Tolen connected with Holt again, this time from 44 yards out to give Gilbert a 28-14 lead with 1:32 remaining in the third quarter.
“We got the momentum right there before the half and we kind of decided midway through the second quarter that we were going to throw the ball about every play, the heck with it,” Leaphart said. “It started working for us. Jy found stuff and when the pocket would break down, he’s able to make plays with his feet.”
Tolen finished 24-of-35 for 273 yards with four touchdowns and no interceptions.
“We just stuck with it and told everyone to keep fighting and keep pushing and it eventually would start cooking,” Tolen said. “Once we got that first touchdown, everyone calmed down and we started playing our football.”
Lexington coach Perry Woolbright thought his team missed contain on a couple of plays in the second half and it ended up hurting them.
“Not much changed; we just got out of position a couple of times,” Woolbright said. “We did a great job in the first half, being right where we needed to be, containing the big play, making them throw underneath. In the second half, we came up a little bit trying to peek on the run, and they were able to get something over the top.”
HOW THEY SCORED
L – Taylor Mathias 2 run (Brady Bolin kick) 7:33
G – Alec Holt 3 pass from Jy Tolen (Rajan Cheema kick) 0:05
G – Dre Harris 30 pass from Tolen (Cheema kick) 10:04
L – Tristian Allen 60 pass from Elijah Ogdon (Bolin kick) 7:57
G – Matt Reed 16 pass from Tolen (Cheema kick) 4:06
G – Holt 44 pass from Tolen (Cheema kick) 1:32
G – Cheema 22 FG 3:28
Rushing: L: Taylor Mathias 15-66, Elijah Ogden 5-(-10), Ahmad Bynem-Scott 7-42, Coleman VanCoutren 2-13, Jayden Geiger 1-12, Tristan Allen 1-5. G: Dre Cook 7-14, Ty Walker 8-31, Jy Tolen 8-60, Dre Harris 3-16, Alec Holt 1-2, Colton Mason 2-1.
Passing: L: Ogden 15-27-1-185. G: Tolen 24-35-0-273.
Receiving: L: Allen 5-109, Dionta Sanders 3-19, Jayden Geiger 5-44, Mathias 1-16, Bynew-Scott 1-(-3). G: Matt Reed 3-39, Harris 7-75, Jamias Holloway 6-61, Holt 5-74, Cook 1-17, Blake Thomas 1-8, Walker 1-(-1).