This one is finally over, right?
Mesquite and No. 5 Desert Ridge played a hectic final minute of football on Friday night at Mesquite, and it was the Wildcats who emerged from the carnage with a 28-27 victory in the season opener for both teams.
Desert Ridge had a winning two-point conversion disallowed because of a block in the back with 5 seconds left, and after the subsequent attempt was unsuccessful, still had a 52-yard field goal attempt for the victory that ultimately fell short.
“That was nuts,” Mesquite tight end R.J. Rickert said. “I’ve never seen a game like that.”
The game was ho-hum for the first two quarters, became more interesting in the second half, and ratcheted up multiple notches in the last half-minute.
Rickert caught what proved to be the game-winning touchdown on a 29-yard pass from Tommy Trammell with 24.6 seconds left, but the drama was far from finished.
The score gave Mesquite a 28-21 lead, but the Jaguars answered back when quarterback Parker Rasmussen threw the ball to wide receiver Jordan Becerra, who chucked it to a streaking Paris Clark for a 60-yard touchdown pass with 5 seconds left to pull Desert Ridge within one.
“We just made that up,” Desert Ridge coach Jeremy Hathcock said.
After a timeout, Hathcock decided to go for the two-point conversion and the victory. Becerra got a pitch from Rasmussen, and after originally getting stonewalled on his run to the right, reversed field and scored in the left corner of the end zone. However, a block in the back penalty negated the score, and an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty on Clark for taking off his helmet moved the ball back to the 40-yard line, where a Hail Mary pass to Sam Papa fell incomplete.
The Jaguars had one more chance after recovering the subsequent onside kick, but the long field goal attempt didn’t reach the goal posts.
Last year, Mesquite beat Desert Ridge when the Wildcats kicker picked up a blocked field goal in overtime and ran for a touchdown.
“We’re snakebit,” Hathcock said. “Last year we went into overtime with them at home, and we didn’t want to do that with them again in the first game.”
Desert Ridge led 14-0 in the third quarter, and Mesquite wasn’t doing much.
But a 95-yard kickoff return for a touchdown by Anthony Lopez seemed to switch the momentum, as the Wildcats scored 28 of the next 35 points to take the lead.
The game was tied with just over a minute to go, when the Jaguars decided to go for it on fourth-and-2 from their own 38. A quarterback keeper by Rasmussen was stuffed a yard short, and the Wildcats took advantage when Trammell found Rickert for the deciding touchdown.
Rasmussen was 18-of-25 for 248 yards and a touchdown, but threw three interceptions. It was his first game at Desert Ridge after transferring from Highland.
Clark had seven catches for 206 yards and two touchdowns,
Trammell threw for three touchdowns and no interceptions, including two scores to Rickert.
It is the third win for Mesquite over Desert Ridge since the start of last season, and despite last year’s crazy finish, might have been the most memorable.
“That was a hell of a football game,” Reardon said.