It’s exhausting being Brett Hundley these days.
It seems the Chandler quarterback did everything — yet nearly not enough — on a cold Friday night. But the Wolves were in a pinch, and they called upon him to do even more.
So he punted twice and had a moment of silence during the final onside kick.
It all worked out — barely — in the end, as Chandler’s 45-42 victory over Mesa Mountain View not only moved the Wolves closer to hosting a playoff game in two weeks, but snapped a 25-year drought against the Toros.
Chandler was 0-3 against Mountain View under Jim Ewan, with each of those three losses coming in the playoffs in the past nine seasons.
Nobody said getting that first one would be without struggle. Even at 6-3, it’s been that way for Chandler this season, physically and otherwise. This was the Wolves’ fifth game decided in the final minute; they’re 3-2 in such situations.
“Maybe it’s an omen,” Wolves coach Jim Ewan said.
All it took to get past the Toros for the first time since the Reagan presidency was a superb performance from Hundley (even by his standards), a Mountain View fumble on the opening kickoff of the second half and three Toro onside kick attempts with 45 seconds left.
Hundley threw for 149 yards and three touchdowns, ran for 112 yards and two more touchdowns, tossed a pair of 2-point conversions and, despite only one practice kick, was pressed into punting duty when kicker Logan Spears was injured early in the game.
“He won’t have any fat on his body now,” Ewan said of Hundley.
The Toros won’t have any either. Mountain View (6-3) did almost everything necessary to knock off the bigger, faster Wolves, as the improved Toros offense matched Chandler score for score, and a few times it required fewer than two minutes for Mountain View to put the ball in the end zone.
After trailing 16-6 early, the Toros briefly took a 20-16 lead late in the first half when Brad Heap hit Preston Richardson over the middle with 1:13 left. But Hundley marched Chandler 84 yards and hit Michael Jordan — who absorbed a punishing hit by a Mountain View defensive back — for a touchdown on the final play of the half, giving the Wolves a 22-20 lead.
Jacom Brimhall (24 carries, 139 yards and a touchdown as well as a two-point conversion reception) then fumbled Mountain View’s kickoff return at the start of the second half, and Hundley ran 25 yards on the next play for a 30-20 lead that eventually grew to 38-27.
“That was such a big, big play,” Ewan said. “We couldn’t ask for anything better.”
Both offenses continued to disregard the other team’s defense. The Toros cut the lead to three points with 48 seconds left in the fourth quarter when Heap (15-for-20 passing for 180 yards and two touchdowns) led Mountain View down the field in a minute’s time and Brimhall scored on a 1-yard run, but after the Toros were offside twice on the onside kick, Andrew Muscara recovered the third attempt for Chandler to seal the win.
The Toros (6-3) will play Chandler Basha next week for the Central Region championship.
“Our kids gave plenty of great effort,” Mountain View coach Tom Joseph said, still frustrated over a couple missed opportunities. “I think we can play with everyone. I’m not ashamed of us at all, but we’ll have to make some biggies next week.”
With his family encircling him, Hundley joked about wanting a cot on the field so he could fall asleep — or at least somewhere he could get off those fleet feet.
“There’s been a lot of these,” Hundley said of the heart-attack helpers down the stretch. “It’s a good learning experience for us and for the playoffs. It won’t be anything new, almost second-nature to us.”
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After exchanging field goals early, Chandler gets the game's first touchdown on a 10-yard run by Brett Hundley, who barrels over a Mountain View linebacker en route to the end zone. It's 10-3 Chandler.
Mountain View's drive stalls, but the Toros tack on another field goal to cut Chandler's lead to 10-6 midway through the second quarter.
Chandler runs a trick play, as Brett Hundley throws it to backup QB Kyle Yount who throws it 34 yards to an open Michael Okonkwo for a touchdown. The PAT is missed, but it's 16-6 Chandler in the second quarter.
On third-and-goal from the 8-yard line, Chandler blitzes everyone and it backfires. Heap finds Colton Winward for an 8-yard Mountain View touchdown pass to make it 16-13 Chandler with a little over 2 minutes to play in the half.
Mountain View needs just three plays and 35 seconds to take the lead, as Heap and Preston Richardson connect from 15 yards out to give the Toros a 20-16 lead with 1:13 left in the half.
On the final play of the first half, Hundley hits Michael Jordan from 9 yards out for the go-ahead touchdown. He took a big hit but held on to the ball, and it's 22-20 Chandler going into halftime. A two-point conversion pass attempt fell incomplete.
After Mountain View fumbles the second-half kickoff, Hundley takes it in from 25 yards out on the first play to make it 28-20 Chandler. Hundley connects with John Bishop on the 2-point pass to extend the lead to 30-20 early in the third quarter.
Richardson responds with a TD run from 5 yards out for Mountain View, cutting the deficit to 30-27 in the third quarter.
Hundley finds Okonkwo on a slant from 20 yards out to extend the lead to 36-27, and Hundley again makes something out of nothing in the two-point conversion with a flip to Andrew Muscara. Late in the third quarter, it's Chandler 38, Mountain View 27.
Heap runs it in from 5 yards out and then hits Brimhall for a two-point play, making it Chandler 38, Mountain View 35 with just 10 seconds left in the third quarter.
Hundley hits former starting QB Kyle Yount for a 10-yard TD on fourth-and-7, and Yount then kicks the extra point to make it 45-35 Chandler with just over 2 minutes left to play.
Mountain View's not giving up, as Brimhall scores from a yard out to make it 45-42 Chandler with 48 seconds left. The Toros will be trying an onside kick momentarily.
On the third onside kick (after Mountain View was offside twice), Muscara recovers for Chandler with 45 seconds to play. It looks like the Wolves will be able to run out the clock and hold on for a 45-42 victory.
Final: Chandler 45, Mountain View 42.