Mesa and Dobson battled Friday for a chance to turn each school's respective seasons around while reviving a cross-town rivalry, and it only intensified after Dobson came from behind in a 14-7 victory over the Jackrabbits, thanks to some late-game heroics and a tough defense.
Mesa got on the board early thanks to quarterback Lucas Moen, who scrambled for a 37-yard touchdown on the Jackrabbits' second drive of the game. Moen continued his strong running performance throughout the night and finished with 81 yards on 12 carries and the touchdown.
Moen wasn’t as successful, however, through the air. He was 8-for-15 for 117 yards with no touchdowns and two interceptions.
For most of the night, however, it held up. A run-heavy Dobson drive was capped off by quarterback Gabe Martinez who scored on a two yard sneak in the second quarter. The Mustangs (1-4) tried for the two-point conversion while running the ball, but failed, leaving the Jackrabbits ahead 7-6.
Things stayed that way until the fourth quarter, even though Mesa (1-4) had multiple chances to extend its lead, including early in the second quarter when Dobson fumbled the ball deep in Mustangs territory. But Noe Pereles also missed a 40-yard field goal late in the second quarter for the Jackrabbits.
The Jackrabbits most costly turnover, however, came late.
Dobson took the lead for good on a Christian Davis 32 yard run moments in to the fourth quarter. Quarterback Gabe Martinez then connected with Brad Demetz for the two-point conversion putting the Mustangs up 14-7.
“We knew Mesa had a couple of quick kids, so we knew the key was to contain them,” said Dobson coach George De La Torre, who earned his first win at the school since coming over from Florence in the spring. “They broke off some good ones against us, but overall we made the tackles when it counted.”
The Mustangs controlled the momentum for most of the second half, led by Davis on the ground. He finished with 92 yards on 14 carries and one crucial touchdown.
With Dobson up by a touchdown and time running out, Mesa had one last chance to tie things up. The Jackrabbits made their way downfield, again led by Moen, and reached midfield when things unraveled.
A strong defensive rush and a quarterback scramble led to a pass being picked off inside Mustangs territory by sophomore defensive back Collin Erickson. Erickson came down with the ball and sealed the first victory of the season for Dobson.
“It’s so far the biggest highlight of my varsity career, it was very very exciting,” Erickson said. “I was scared I was going to drop it, I just knew to catch it and secure it for the win.”
Dobson 14, Mesa 7
First downs: 9
Penalties: 50 yards
First downs: 14
Penalties: 15 yards
M – Moen 3 run (Pereles kick)
D – Martinez 2 run (Run failed)
D – Davis 32 run (Demetz pass from Martinez)