Mesa Mountain View and Mesa High gave fans a taste of what 5A East Valley Region play will be like this year with a black-and-blue game that brought back memories of the 1980s and early 1990s Friday night at Toro Stadium.
Mountain View turned back a game effort by Mesa with a pair of fourth-quarter touchdowns — the second with one minute left — that lifted No. 4 Mountain View to a 14-10 victory.
Mountain View (5-1, 1-0) rebounded from its only loss of the season two weeks ago to Phoenix Brophy. For Mesa (3-3, 0-1) it was the second week in a row and third time this season a poor fourth quarter cost it victory.
Mountain View reserve running back Gary Bresnahan scored on a 5-yard run with a minute to play to cap the Toros’ second scoring drive of the second half. This one took nine plays and covered 35 yards. The tally gave Mountain View its only lead of the game, the one that counted when time expired.
Bresnahan was called on to help carry the rushing load for Mountain View in the final period after starter Ernie Perea was knocked from the game with a shoulder injury. Mountain View coach Tom Joseph said Perea will receive an X-ray this weekend to determine if Perea has a broken collarbone.
“It didn’t sound too good,” Joseph said of Perea’s prognosis. “But Gary came in and did a great job for us. He does every day in practice. That’s the kind of thing we count on.”
Mountain View’s game-winning drive was set up by a pair of Mesa miscues. A fumble on its 22 with 9:07 left in the game was recovered by the Toros’ Daniel Clemons. Mesa’s defense came to the rescue, limiting the Toros to a 35-yard field goal attempt that sailed wide left to preserve a 10-7 lead.
After two penalties — two of 12 in the game whistled on the Jackrabbits — helped stifle Mesa’s offense the Jackrabbits were forced to punt. Punter Pedro Valdez fielded a low snap on a bounce and hurried his kick, shanking it 17 yards and giving the Toros possession at the Mesa 35 with 3:50 to play. The Toros marched in 2:50 later.
Mesa had one final possession and moved the ball to the Toros’ 32 with 21 seconds left. The fourth sack of the game by Mountain View — the last by tackle Keith Strickland of Mesa quarterback Tony Gallegos — sealed the victory.
“We had too many penalties late in the game,” Mesa coach Kelley Moore said. “Those didn’t help us move the ball. We simply couldn’t muster up a drive when we needed to.”
Mesa, which came within 60 seconds of beating Mountain View for the first time since 1994, built a 10-0 first-half lead.
The Jackrabbits used a fumble recovery on a punt return by the Toros’ Ron Taylor that led to a 29-yard field goal by Mason Crandell late in the first period.
Mesa added a touchdown with 5:03 left in the second period on an 11-yard pass from Gallegos to wide receiver Derek Biggs that was perfectly thrown in the left corner of the end zone.
Mountain View ran just eight plays in the second period as Mesa controlled the ball and the clock, much of it on the Jackrabbits’ 11-play, 74-yard TD drive.