The game between No. 3 Basha and No. 2 Mesquite was so even, it could have gone on all night without a resolution.
So Mike Reardon gambled.
The Mesquite coach called a fake kick, two-point conversion with 52 seconds remaining, but holder Tommy Trammell’s throw for R.J. Rickert fell incomplete as Basha held on for a 21-20 victory in a 5A-I Central Region heavyweight bout Friday at Basha.
Trammell flipped the pass 5 yards deep into the end zone as three Basha defenders lunged for it, and it trickled out of Rickert’s hands and fell harmlessly to the turf. A subsequent onside kick was recovered by Basha.
“I’m not settling for no damn tie,” Reardon said. “We came here to win a ballgame.”
Basha (8-1, 5-0) is now the only team in the 5A-I Central without a region loss. It can capture an outright region championship next week with a win over Mountain View. It would be a three-way tie if Mesquite and Mountain View both win next week.
“I know a lot of those guys, so it was a little bit of a rivalry throughout the week,” Basha wide receiver Dejzon Walker said. “It’s a good win for us.”
Neither team led by more than a touchdown in this one, as Basha’s pass-heavy offense and Mesquite’s rushing game netted similar results. The Bears ended up with 360 yards of total offense, while Mesquite had 335.
Basha went ahead 21-14 when quarterback Kyle Duran found Nate Phillips from 5 yards out with 3:10 remaining. Mesquite (7-2, 4-1) drove right back down the field, and Anthony Lopez pulled the Wildcats to within one on a 16-yard touchdown scamper on third down, setting up the failed two-point conversion.
“I was just thinking, ‘Knock the ball down, knock the ball down, don’t let them catch it,’” Duran said.
The Wildcats won their season opener when Desert Ridge was unsuccessful on a two-point conversion at the end of the game.
Duran finished with 256 yards passing and two touchdowns. Phillips had four catches for 102 yards and two scores. Lopez had 129 yards rushing and two touchdowns for Mesquite.
The Wildcats had only two penalties in the game and Basha had five. Each team turned the ball over just once.
“They should put that on tape and sell it, because that was a hell of a game from both sides,” Reardon said.
The game was tied at 7 heading into the fourth quarter, and 27 points were put on the board in the final 12 minutes.
“Both teams gave all they had,” Basha coach Bernie Busken said. “A different bounce here or there, it could have gone either way... it’s a little more fun when you come out on top.”