Mesquite running back Anthony Lopez burst through the line and saw two defensive backs who both had the angle on him.
Or so it seemed.
Lopez simply switched into overdrive, ran straight down the middle of the field and outran the defenders en route to a 69-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter.
It was that kind of night for Lopez, who ran for four touchdowns, and for Mesquite, which dominated Corona del Sol 38-0 in the Central Region opener for both teams.
“I saw the two backs,” Lopez said. “I knew I had to turn the jets on.”
Corona (1-4) knew it was in trouble heading into the game, but switching to Plan B wasn’t an option. Aztecs coach Zane Zamenski had to dive much deeper into the alphabet.
“We had to go to Plan X,” Zamenski said. “We lost our starting tailback and quarterback, and our backup quarterback was sick all week and did not practice. I am not trying to tell a tale of woe, we just had too many things work against us. We could not over come it.”
Mesquite (4-1), on the other hand, was riding a homecoming-induced emotional wave.
On the first play from scrimmage, quarterback Stevan Bevan scrambled for 34 yards. On the next play, Lopez scored on a 21-yard run. And just like that, 28 seconds into the game, the Wildcats established an insurmountable lead.
Corona fumbled the ensuing kickoff, giving the Wildcats possession on the Corona 34. On the next play Bevan hit RJ Rickert on a 31-yard pass play. Two plays later Lopez scored from a yard out.
The early success may have been a little too much for the Wildcats. The next three possessions resulted in a punt, an interception and a lost fumble.
“We just got overanxious,” said Mesquite coach Mike Reardon. “We played too fast.”
In the third quarter, Mesquite settled down, getting touchdown runs of 17 and 3 yards from Lopez and Bevan, respectively. Lopez finished with 162 yards rushing on 16 carries.
The defense was even more impressive, forcing three three-and-outs for the Aztecs, who finished with minus 6 yards in the period. Corona managed just one first down in the second half and 32 yards of offense.
“After halftime we just settled down and executed,” Reardon said. “We didn’t do anything fancy.”