October 16, 2004
Top-ranked Hamilton shoveled its way past an inspired Mesquite squad, 46-14, Friday in a 5A Fiesta Region game.
The Wildcats (3-4, 0-2) had pulled to within 10-7 on Damian Larke’s 49-yard score off a short pass from Zach Walker in the second quarter.
They had the Huskies (7-0, 2-0) in a third-and-14 when Travis Dixon flipped a shovel pass to Cody Englebrecht, who ran 58 yards for the back-breaker.
"That was kind of the turning point for us," said Dixon. "We carried that momentum over into the second half."
Hamilton opened the game with a 10-play drive capped by Dixon’s 15-yard keeper. But the offense began struggling as Mesquite shut down the inside running game — helping the Wildcats gain confidence as they stayed close.
Walker, a senior starting in the place of Erik Archuleta (out with a fractured left arm) set up Larke’s score with a 13-yard pass to Jeff Scafaria at the Hamilton 48.
"We played hard for a half," said Mesquite coach Rich Iversen. "We got wore down and they made some big plays."
Both teams struggled to open the second half. Daniel Hill picked off Walker at the Mesquite 17, but three plays later Englebrecht fumbled and Corey Dunn recovered for the Wildcats at their 3.
After that it was all Hamilton. Englebrecht scored TDs of 13 and 20 yards, then Mekell Wesley returned a punt 72 yards for a 39-7 lead early in the fourth quarter.
Jesse Matlock engineered one more Hamilton score. Lucas Kirkland keyed the drive with a 28-yard blast before Matlock finished with a scamper from the 6.
Mesquite put together one final score when Troy Elliot ran 4 yards for a touchdown with 27 seconds left. The play was set up by a 30-yard pass from Walker to Saunders Montague.
Hamilton coach John Wrenn compared his team to a pitcher who figures out how to win without his best stuff.
"I told the kids that we’re not going to play great every week," Wrenn said. "Mesquite came out here and did some things that we didn’t expect, knocked us around a little bit. But we found a way to win."