MARANA — A fourth quarter that resembled a Seinfeld plot about "nothing" turned into something out of the Twilight Zone in the final minutes of Thursday's game between Mesquite and Marana Mountain View.
With the game tied, Mesquite drove from its own 30-yard-line to Mountain View's 19 with 10.7 seconds remaining, close enough to let senior Jarrod James try a game-winning 36-yard field goal. But the kick was low, and blocked, essentially sending the contest into overtime.
Instead, the officials ruled that because the kick never traveled past the line of scrimmage, the Wildcats — who retained possession after James recovered the ball and advanced it to the 23-yard-line — could take another try with 1.5 seconds left.
And this time James was dead on, nailing the kick from 40 yards out to give Mesquite a thrilling 17-14 comeback win.
“The best part is, we didn't let (James) kick all night because he had a pulled groin,” a happily stunned Mesquite coach Jim Jones said afterward. “But he came up and said, 'Coach, give me a try.'”
James, who as a tight end also had three catches for 39 yards — including a 10-yard grab on a 3rd-and-4 with under 40 seconds left in the game — said he wasn't aware of the rule allowing another kick. He just knew he had to keep Mountain View from recovering the block.
“I knew that you could advance a blocked field goal in high school,” James said. “There was nothing different about the second kick; if you're focused, it's the same thing every time.”
Mesquite's game-winning drive was a complete reversal from an offensively devoid fourth quarter to that point. The Wildcats tied the game at 14 on the final play of the third on a 5-yard pass from Payton Haslam to Juan Giraldo (despite Giraldo appearing to lose the ball as he lunged for the pylon while falling out of bounds), then the duo hooked up on a two-point conversion.
After that score, Mesquite (2-1) and Mountain View (2-1) combined to generate seven punts, six three-and-outs and 29 yards of offense before the Wildcats' final drive.
Mesquite's defense was dominant the whole game, save for two big second quarter plays: a 35-yard TD run on a designed draw by Mountain View quarterback Cody Rochon and a 68-yard pass from Rochon to Sam Ross that set up a 1-yard Rochon run to give the Mountain Lions a 14-6 halftime lead.
“We didn't make any adjustments at halftime, we just told them we're kicking their butts, let's make it happen,” Jones said. “Our first game against Gilbert, we played really well but didn't take advantage of everything and still won. And last week against Williams Field … we didn't play well enough to win.”
Mesquite held Mountain View to just 182 total yards, with only 20 coming in the second half.
Lost in the low-scoring game was a workmanlike effort from Mesquite running back Paul Perry, who finished with 145 yards and a first quarter TD on 31 carries, and also pulled in four catches for 43 yards. Haslam, despite interceptions on back-to-back throws bookending halftime, finished with 202 yards and a score on 19-of-28 passing.
Mesquite 17, Marana Mountain View 14
Mesquite 6 0 8 3 -- 17
Mtn. View 0 14 0 0 -- 14
MESQ — Paul Perry 1 run (kick failed)
MMV — Cody Rochon 35 run (Juan Rangel kick)
MMV — Rochon 1 run (Rangel kick)
MESQ — Juan Giraldo 5 pass from Payton Haslam (Giraldo pass from Haslam)
MESQ — Jarrod James 40 FG
First Downs: MESQ 17, MMV 7
Rushing: MESQ 37-141, MMV 24-74
Passing (Comp.-Att.-TD-INT): MESQ 19-28-202-2-1, MMV 4-13-0-108-0
Fumbles-lost: MESQ 3-0, MMV 1-1
Penalties-yards: MESQ 6-55, MMV 7-50