After starting the season 0-4, Mesa Dobson coach George De La Torre and his staff reassured their players all week that if they kept working hard good things would happen.
On Friday night, Dobson’s unwillingness to give up on its season paid off with a 14-7 victory over visiting Mesa.
Mesa, which led 7-0 in the first quarter, moved the ball well for most of the game but committed five turnovers and missed a field goal.
“Our kids have done everything we’ve asked them to do this season, we just weren’t getting the wins, so this was great for our team and the whole community,” De La Torre said. “I thought our kids came out and played from the very beginning, and everything started to click and they got into their niche. I don’t think anybody could have beaten them tonight because they were playing so hard.”
Mesa (1-4) scored a touchdown on its second possession. Senior quarterback Lucas Moen capped a seven-play drive with a 37-yard touchdown run along the right sideline with 4:35 left in the first quarter.
Dobson (1-4) went three-and-out on its ensuing possession, but it quickly got the ball back when senior Will Pounds intercepted a pass with 1:55 left in the first quarter. The Dobson offense parlayed the miscue into a touchdown with an efficient 11-play, 60-yard touchdown drive that senior quarterback Gabe Martinez finished with a 1-yard plunge into the end zone with 8:09 left before halftime. Dobson, however, botched the extra-point kick and trailed by a point at intermission.
Down 7-6, junior Christian Davis — whose helmet popped off on several occasions after being tackled — scored the game-winning touchdown with a 38-yard run up the middle on the first play of the fourth quarter.
“I trusted my line, and I saw the hole and I just went for it,” Davis said. “It was the right move to make at that time.”
Leading 12-7, Martinez scrambled right and lobbed a pass back to his left to senior Brad Demetz for a two-point conversion.
Dobson’s defense took it from there, holding Mesa to just 41 yards on its final three possessions. Sophomore Collin Erickson secured the win with an interception deep in Dobson territory with 1:45 left in the fourth quarter.
“Winning this game feels great,” Davis said. “It’s been a real tough time for us, but we’ve put in a lot of hard work through the thick and the thin. We played with a lot of heart tonight.”
Dobson lost junior offensive lineman Dylan Elias to a foot injury just before scoring its first touchdown. Elias was helped from the field with 8:53 left in the second quarter and did not return.