There were no encores or drawn out performances – in fact, Kyle Allen’s senior night was more of a cameo than anything else. But the Desert Mountain quarterback certainly made the most of his 24 minutes of action.
Allen completed six of his nine passes for 172 yards, including four that went for touchdowns, as No. 10 Desert Mountain closed out the 2013 regular season with a comfortable 31-17 win over Mesa High.
While the Texas A&M-bound quarterback torched the Jackrabbits in Friday’s first half, that’s where his night would end. Late in the second quarter, Mesa senior linebacker Dameon Miller took down Allen on a hard two-yard sack. During the play, the 6-foot-2 senior awkwardly landed on his right leg and was forced to hobble to the sideline.
After sitting out the next six plays on the drive, Allen limped back into the ballgame, but his appearance was short-lived. One incomplete pass later, the most-prolific passer in school history was relegated to spectator duty for the remainder of the night.
“I just rolled it,” Allen said. “There was no reason to put me back in there. We had a pretty decent lead, so why risk making it worse. I’ll be back working tomorrow and will definitely be ready for next week.”
Under the direction of a quarterback-by-committee – senior Mark Andrews and freshman Austin Nuessle – the Wolves’ offense sputtered in the second half.
However, three turnovers and just 17 yards through the air were not enough to derail Desert Mountain as Tabor’s defense proved stout, allowing only a field goal in the final two-and-a-half quarters of play.
With the win, Desert Mountain moved to 5-5 on the season and all but secured its spot in the Division I state tournament.
The regular season didn’t exactly going according to plan for the Wolves, however they remain confident that lightning can be caught in a bottle as the month of November rolls along.
“We’ll find out officially tomorrow where we are at,” Tabor said. “But you know, once you get in, it’s anybody’s tournament. I think if we can move the football and play a little defense, we’ll see what happens.”
Tabor’s quarterback seems to agree.
“I’m really excited for the playoffs,” said Allen. “I mean you see us in the first half tonight, we can put up points on anyone. When our offense is flowing and healthy, we’re tough to stop.”
As for the Jackrabbits (3-7), they were stopped in their tracks quite a bit Friday night. Outside of Turrell Pietz-Noble’s 100-yard performance on the ground, the offense continually shot itself in the foot with untimely penalties, fumbles and poor execution.
While it was an unfortunate end to the season for Mesa, head coach Kelley Moore seemed optimistic that his program can take positives away from its up-and-down campaign.
“The character of these kids has been amazing throughout,” Moore said. “Regardless of what happened, their chemistry was strong. They were all there for each other all the time. If the older guys can pass that down to the younger guys, it’s something we can certainly use going into next season.”
Desert Mountain 31, Mesa 17
First Downs: DM - 13, M - 13
Rushing: DM – 32-189, M – 38-180
Passing (Comp.-Att.-Yards-TD-INT): DM - 9-19-206-4-0, M – 8-13-114-1-1
Fumbles-lost: DM – 5-4 M – 4-2
Penalties-yards: DM – 10-100 M 8-68
M: Bellorin 26-yard pass from Shelton (Pereles kick)
DM: Olivarez 75-yard pass from Allen (Kick blocked)
DM: Higgins 17-yard pass from Allen (Two-point conversion)
DM: Warren 43-yard pass from Allen (Taylor kick)
DM: Andrews 12-yard pass from Allen (Taylor kick)
DM: Taylor 22-yard kick
M: Pereles 38-yard kick