Former rivals look forward to a Fiesta homecoming | December 23, 2011 | Palo Alto Weekly | Palo Alto Online |

Palo Alto Weekly

Sports - December 23, 2011

Former rivals look forward to a Fiesta homecoming

by Rick Eymer

Junior wide receiver Drew Terrell has done a little bit of everything for the Stanford football team this season. He's rushed, passed, received and returned punts. Junior Trent Murphy has started all 12 games for the fourth-ranked Cardinal as a linebacker. He has 39 tackles, nine for a loss, and has 5 1/2 sacks.

One thing they share is that playing inside the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, site of January 2nd's Fiesta Bowl between Stanford (11-1) and third-ranked Oklahoma State (11-1), is no big deal for the Phoenix-area residents.

Not only has Terrell and Murphy watched games at the 5 1/2-year-old stadium, they played against each other there in high school state championship games.

"It's kind of like home for me," Murphy said. "Though the last time I played there we lost. I'd like to rectify that this time."

Murphy's Brophy College Prep team lost to Terrell's Hamilton High in its senior and sophomore years. Murphy beat Terrell in the 5A Division I state finals as a junior.

"We had a little rivalry between the schools," Murphy said. "We went back and forth. I'd like to win the next game there with Drew as a teammate. That would be nice."

Terrell grew up in Tempe and Chandler, while Murphy was raised in Scottsdale and Phoenix. Terrell was a die-hard Arizona State fan while Murphy followed the Sun Devils only because older sister, four-year starter Kayli Murphy, played for the ASU women's basketball team.

"My grandfather took me to every ASU home game since I was two," Terrell said. "They were my first offer in high school. I have a lot of friends at ASU and on the team. There's still a bond there."

Before there was the 73,000-seat University of Phoenix Stadium, there wasn't much else but farm land in Glendale. Terrell and Murphy could have watched it rise out of the land if so inclined, but Glendale was so far away, it wasn't worth their trouble.

"I used to go to summer passing leagues in Surprise and I just remember it was all flat land," Terrell said. "I saw it on the news but the first time I saw the stadium was when it was fully constructed. I always thought of Glendale as farm land or desert."

During Terrell and Murphy's lifetime, there was no easy way to get to Glendale. The 101 highway loop was unfinished and even highway 202 didn't go very far. Both are major routes now.

"I do remember that 101 stopped before it got to Chandler and we had to take a lot of back streets to get home," Terrell said. "All the Phoenix suburbs have grown in my lifetime."

Murphy has a vague recollection of Glendale but remembers watching high school playoff games at Sun Devil Stadium.

"I used to visit a zoo out there and it was in the middle of nowhere," Murphy said. "It was a long drive. I don't remember the construction of the stadium at all."

Both players are still competing against each other for one thing — tickets to the game. With a large contingent of friends and family in the area, getting enough to satisfy everyone seems impossible.

"I'm trying my best to hunt down as many as I can," Murphy said. "It's no easy task. I'm from a large family (he's one of six kids) so I couldn't ask for a better location."

Murphy has made them proud, even if it is at Stanford, one of ASU's bitter rivals in women's basketball for a number of years. He missed most of his sophomore year due to injury, but won a starting spot at outside linebacker this fall.

"I knew it would be hard to find tickets," Terrell said. "This is the kind of game everybody wants to attend, so I'm not bugging anybody too much. Some of the guys who do have extras ask me if I need them, so that's cool."

Terrell's one pass completion, by the way, was a 13-yarder to Andrew Luck. He's rushed once for four yards, has eight receptions for 81 yards and a touchdown, averaged 11.9 yards on 16 punt returns and also returned a kickoff.

While their high school title games drew just over 20,000, it will be slightly different for Terrell and Murphy to play in front of more than 70,000 fans.

"I'm anxious to get there," Terrell said. "It's going to be exciting and a lot of fun."

Stanford leaves for Arizona on Monday and hopes to be celebrating a season-ending victory on Jan. 2.


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