At a moment’s notice, Dobson running back T.J. Thomas will rattle off the names of his offensive line.
And at a moment’s notice, that same offensive line bullied Desert Mountain to clear the way for Thomas on a 5-yard jaunt for a touchdown in overtime. That score knotted the game, and an extra point by Brian Franklin cemented the 31-30 win for the Mustangs.
“It means a lot that everybody is behind me and knows that I’m behind them,” Thomas said. “If we had to throw for the touchdown I’ll believe in it. … No matter what we do we believe that it will all work out."
Thomas finished with 24 carries, 244 yards and three touchdowns; he was coming off a 366-yard, four-touchdown performance in the season opener. Thomas attributed it all to the offensive line, which echoed coach Alex Jacobson.
“We just have to bond together, because we’re five different players, but we’re one unit,” said center Tyler Murphy. “We just have to work together at all times.”
Prior to the overtime snap — on second down and 5 — the offensive line huddled together for one last conference.
“I told them we have to tell the team to muscle it up and block these guys one last time and keep going until they quit and we keep going,” said offensive guard Shawn Garrett. “I told T.J. I’m blocking my heart out, and you run right behind me, and he did and he scored the touchdown.”
Thomas and the Mustangs (2-0) earned their way into overtime by answering a three-play, 75-yard drive by the Wolves (1-1), which saw Desert Mountain’s Kyle Allen hook up with 6-foot-6 Mark Andrews twice for 60 yards and a touchdown.
“(Dobson) fought their butts off tonight,” said Desert Mountain coach Tony Tabor. “I told the kids tonight to let that sink in because winning and losing comes down to little bitty things.”
The difference in the game was a missed extra point by Desert Mountain, after the Wolves scored on their first play in overtime — a 10-yard pass from Allen to Thomas Mariello, who turned the corner before the Mustangs could reach him.
With 1:18 in the fourth quarter, Dobson put together a nine-play, 64-yard drive courtesy of passes to Austin McNeamey and Colton Benjamin. The game was then sent into overtime with a 27-yard field goal by Franklin.
“Either we did finish, or we didn’t," Jacobson said. “Tonight we did. I told the kicker, I said, ‘Someday Brian Franklin, you are going to kick a game winner.”
Friday night, he did.
For Desert Mountain it was a series of mistakes that kept it from having the edge, ending the game with 126 penalty yards. But behind the legs of Nick Stevenson (18 carries, 107 yards) in the second half, they were able to log two unanswered touchdowns, both on catches by Andrews, who finished with four receptions for 98 yards.
“Penalties and a couple of dropped balls... and on defense we let No. 4 (Thomas) get going in the second quarter," Tabor said. "It’s just those little things, making a penalty here and there, and letting them have another opportunity."