By: Ralph Amsden
In what has become a story of legend passed from graduating class to graduating class, the exodus of one Terrell Suggs from Chandler to Hamilton sparked emotions that go beyond the typical cross-town rivalry. As someone who had various firsthand accounts of Mr. Suggs during this time period, it has been fascinating to see the evolution of the story as time passes. It has gotten so muddled that even I doubt my own account of events at times. Whatever the truth is- Suggs’ move from sharing snaps with CHS RB Devvin Richardson, to a starring role with the Huskies (that saw him accumulate 2,274 rushing yards and 26 TDs), was the origin of a dynasty that many Wolves fans believe should be rightfully theirs, and now that Chandler has finally won a game in the series, Chandler faithful are starting to think it can be.
Here is a breakdown of the rivalry’s history:
1999: In Hamilton’s first foray into football with the big boys, Suggs and company shut the Wolves down, 27-0.
2000: Chandler caps off an 0-10 season with a 41-3 loss against the Huskies, this time without Suggs. The Wolves start to realize they have more issues than the absence of one player.
2001: A promising team led by QB Dallas Bates and DE Nick Johnson goes into the Hamilton game at 7-2, only to have Joey Vincent lead the Huskies to a 17-7 victory.
2002: 17-0 Hamilton. Chandler started the season 4-0, and the loss to HHS in the final game brings the season ending record to 5-5.
2003: 31-0 Hamilton. The second of back-to-back-to-back shutouts, and the year Hamilton bring their first state championship home on an incredible goal line stand against Mountain View in triple-overtime.
2004: 35-0 Hamilton. This may have been the worst effort CHS ever mustered against the Huskies, managing only 132 total yards.
2005: Gerald Munns, Colin Parker and Dontay Moch enforce their defensive will on the Wolves, but Chandler scores 14 in the 4th quarter to avoid a 4th straight shutout, 41-14.
2006: Hamilton maximizes their measly 276 yards of offense by scoring 5 touchdowns, beating CHS 35-14.
2007: Arguably the most talented HHS team ever assembled blasts a 7-2 Chandler squad 46-0.
2008: Chandler’s best effort so far- down 8 and driving in the 4th quarter, Hamilton returns an interception for a TD to cement a 41-26 win in which Chandler outgained them by 140 yards.
2008 Playoffs: 14-0 shutout by the Huskies in a defensive battle that in no way resembled the offensive showcase during the regular season. Ruben Rubio had an unbelievable 4 sacks on his own against CHS.
2009: Besides Suggs leaving, the 24-20 loss to Hamilton in the regular season is the most painful memory for most lifelong CHS fans. Hamilton scored 21 in the 4th quarter after being dominated by a Chandler squad that ran the ball nearly 50 times.
2009 Playoffs: Chandler came in confident, and left with a 49-21 spanking that had two Hamilton RBs rush for over 200 yards (Zach Bauman and Michael Allen).
2010: Chandler changes their strategy radically to accommodate the talented Brett Hundley, throwing 44 times, but new QB Kyren Poe (who caught the game winning pass for HHS in 2009) made the most of his 10 completions by throwing 3 for touchdowns in a 38-20 win. It’s a wonder HHS WR Tanner Clay chose to play collegiate soccer after his 6 reception, 178 yard, 2 TD performance.
2011: Most of the kids playing in tonight’s match-up were there on the field, or there to witness plays like the fumble recovery for a TD by Cole Luke that ended Chandler’s hope of a first victory, 28-21.
Hamilton alum Santana Sterling, who started the game as a sophomore, said his favorite memories of that game were Luke’s TD and “Jaxon Hood stripping Paul Perkins and the ball rolling out of their own end zone for a touchback, which set up our offense for the game winning TD.”
Chandler alum Dalton Guerra didn’t get in the game, but he added that “Going into the 4th quarter with a lead was like a dream come true,” and “It still hurt me as bad as Javon (Williams), Lloyd (Mills) and Paul (Perkins) to see time expire with the visitor score higher than ours.
2011 Playoffs: HHS in a 28-0 shutout. The 5 sacks Chandler gave up made a total of 13 for both contests.
2012: The Wolves brought serious offensive firepower into Jerry Loper Stadium, only to have penalties and a lack of RB depth do them in (You can read the recap for last year’s game by clicking here).
2013: Hamilton’s Elijah Williams scored a late TD, and it looked as if Hamilton was going to extend the streak to 18 games, but a Bryce Perkins pass to Dionte Sykes, and an interception returned for a TD by J.R. Hunt leads to Chandler’s first-ever win over Hamilton, 26-16. You can relive it through the video Fabian Ardaya put together:
2013 Playoffs: The rains came, and then came the announcement- the AIA would postpone the semifinal game until Monday. Chandler fans were hoping Highland’s field would be in good condition by the time the game started so they could play fast. It wasn’t, and what resulted was a hard nosed battle that saw the Huskies put together a game winning drive that earned the Huskies a spot in the 2013 state championship with a 17-14 win.
2014: Chandler came in to this game with a loss to the defending state champion Mountain Pointe Pride. The week before the annual Battle for AZ Ave, Hamilton had crushed that same Mountain Pointe team, so many thought the Huskies were primed for another rivalry week win. Nope. Chandler destroyed Hamilton 56-24, ending Hamilton’s 10 year home winning streak in the process. Bryce Perkins and the Wolves set a record for most points ever scored against Hamilton while earning their second regular season win in as many years.
So here we are, with the 21st meeting of the Huskies and Wolves coming in the State Championship game on Friday, November 28th, 2014. Hamilton leads the series 18-2, but as far as both teams are concerned, the 2014 championship is all that matters..
Hamilton comes in leading 607-253 in total points, or an average spread of 30-13 per contest.