This could be the start of something really, really good.
In a matchup of new schools separated by about 10 miles, it took the right leg of a student from halfway around the world to complete the first installment of what could shape up to be a tremendous rivalry.
Poston Butte's Alex Peterson kicked a 25-yard field goal with 1 second remaining to lift the Broncos to a 10-7 victory at Campo Verde (2-3) on Friday night.
After nearly 45 minutes of scoreless play, the teams combined for 17 thrilling points in the game's final 3:29, capped by Peterson's kick.
"I was kind of nervous, yes," said Peterson, who is from Sweden and is playing his first season of football. "My first conversion kick was not so good, but this was just a little longer than that kick."
Peterson's kick from the right hashmark, which he called his "bad side," capped a seven-play, 53-yard drive by the Broncos (5-0). Facing fourth-and-1 from the Coyotes' 7-yard line, Poston Butte coach Mike De La Torre said he never considered going for the first down in the game's final 0:50. Instead, he let the clock run down to about :06 before calling timeout and sending in Peterson.
"We have all the confidence in Alex," De La Torre said. "He's a typical European kid who said he wanted to try kicking a football. He probably didn't even know what was going on."
On the winning drive, the Broncos started at their own 40 and quickly moved to the Coyotes 28 thanks to a 17-yard reception from Scott Cabral and a 15-yard personal foul penalty on Campo Verde. Poston Butte got into field goal range on a nifty 11-yard pass from Dean Martino to Cabral and a 9-yard run by Jason Compean.
"I was happy we got the ball that close," Peterson said. "If it had been about 40 yards then I would have been really nervous."
Poston Butte entered the game averaging more than 330 yards rushing in its four previous wins. The Coyotes held them to less than 130.
Poston Butte finally broke the scoreless tie and took a 7-0 lead on a 15-yard run from Dustin French with 3:29 remaining in the game. The play capped a 12-play, 68-yard drive in which the Broncos converted a fourth-and-8 play from the Coyotes' 29 on a 14-yard pass from Martino to Marcus Rutledge.
"I just wasn't going to be denied," French said. "It was a battle all game. Our line finally got to them and we did this as a team."
The lead was short-lived. It took Campo Verde just two plays to tie it at 7-7 as Marquon Claiborne caught a twice-tipped 54-yard pass from Luke Pineda with 2:54 remaining.
"I can't ask any more of my guys from an effort standpoint," Campo Verde coach Max Ragsdale said. "We just need better execution. We gave away too many opportunities."
The Coyotes' best chance to take the lead came late in the third quarter. After gaining 5 yards on a fourth-and-1at the Broncos' 9, the Coyotes lost their second fumble of the night on the next play. Linebacker Aaron Juarez, who turned in a monster game defensively with 19 tackles, recovered the fumble to keep the game scoreless entering the fourth quarter.
The Broncos' best scoring opportunity in the first half was also turned away on a turnover. On second-and-goal at the Campo Verde 9, Tyler Mills intercepted Martino's pass to end the threat. The Coyotes also missed a 33-yard field goal early in the second quarter.
Pineda finished with 189 yards passing on 12-of-19 attempts, and added 63 yards rushing on 19 carries. Martino countered with 120 yards passing and 29 more rushing.
"Those are the games that are fun to be part of," De La Torre said.