CHANDLER, Ariz. -- Hamilton High School will head to the Division 1 State Championship game this Saturday, after beating Chandler 21-17.
Despite the rare Monday night semi-final game, thousands of fans packed the bleachers for to watch the rival teams face off on the field.
“This rivalry has been going on for fifteen years,” explained Chandler High School’s class president Radhika Arora. “Ever since Hamilton High School was established, since then we’ve played seventeen games and lost every single one until this year.”
That’s why Monday’s game between the Wolves and Huskies was a true dog fight to determine bragging rights on Arizona Avenue.
“We’ve got a love, hate relationship,” said Paul Perkins, father of Chandler’s Quarterback Bryce Perkins.
“The thing we tell Bryce, just come out and play your game. Don’t worry about who’s here; let the chips fall where they fall,” said Perkins.
Perkins’ older son, who used to play for Chandler, now plays for UCLA. He and other players’ parents know scouts are watching, adding to the pressure pouring from the stands filled with fans and family.
“I’ve been nervous since last Friday,” said Colleen McMahon, whose son, Tyrell Smith, is a Hamilton running back.
“It’s his senior year, so it’s either to the State Championship or going home for good,” said McMahon.
Her nerves quickly turned to celebration by 8:30, when Hamilton clinched the victory.
On Saturday, they will play Mountain Pointe, who won Monday over Desert Ridge.