It won’t go down as the prettiest of wins, but Mesquite came up with enough big plays on offense and solid play on defense to hold off visiting Desert Mountain’s fourth quarter rally and come up with a 37-16 win in a 5A non-conference game Friday night.
“Desert Mountain did a hell of a job,” Mesquite coach Mike Reardon said. “I mean, they came back and fought…the second half they were a different group and they took it to us.”
The Wolves (0-2) entered the fourth quarter down 23-2, but cut it to 23-16 midway through the fourth quarter. Anthony Lopez then turned a broken play into a 50-yard touchdown with three minutes remaining to seal the win for Mesquite (2-0).
“It was a busted play, it was ugly,” Reardon said. “But he’s a super athlete. It’s unfortunate we didn’t play better to take advantage of his talents. Offensively, we just did not function consistently at all tonight.”
The big run for Lopez ended his night on a positive note after he struggled to get anything going a week after he ran for 111 yards.
“It was just when we were running plays, they were overloading on one side or the other and we just running to that side and they had a lucky guess on which way we were running the ball,” Lopez said.
While Lopez and the rest of the offense struggled to get going, senior running back Austin Curtis came up with big plays at all the right times to keep Mesquite on track.
“He’s a tough kid, he’s a workhorse that plays both sides of the ball,” Reardon said. “He doesn’t say two words on the field but he just plays his tail off. He’s a great inside-type fullback player that every team would love to have.”
Curtis set up Tommy Trammell’s 12-yard touchdown run in the second quarter by rushing 30 yards to convert on third down the play prior. After Desert Mountain cut the lead to seven, Curtis rushed for two yards on third-and-one from the Wildcats’47-yard line. Two plays later, Lopez broke off his 50-yard run.
Although the offense struggled to get in a rhythm, the Wildcat defense had no problem pressuring Desert Mountain.
“Defensively we’re still pretty solid,” Reardon said. “I like the way our kids play defense.”
Senior linebacker R.J. Rickert had a great game on defense for Mesquite. Rickert finished with four tackles, two tackles for a loss, one hurry and one fumble recovery.