Mesa High School’s football team has been in somewhat of a hiatus since 2009. That’s the last time it made the state playoffs and did pretty well before falling in the Class 5A Division I title game.
Well, don’t look now, but Mesa’s formula of playing scrappy and physical looks as if it has returned after it blanked host Mesa Dobson 12-0 in Friday night’s season-opener.
“It’s a start,” said Mesa running back Turrell Pietz-Noble shortly after in what was his first varsity game. “We’re hyped about winning the first game of the season. Hopefully we can keep the momentum going.”
Pietz-Noble dashed for 154 yards on 19 carries in what was a balmy and soggy beginning of the game with all of the storms and rain moving through the area. The game started about 40 minutes late because of lightning in the area.
Mesa coach Kelley Moore was very pleased with not only Pietz-Noble’s effort, but with the effort of his entire team for that matter.
“We had a scrimmage against Gilbert Mesquite last week and we got our tails kicked in,” Moore said. “We owe them some gratitude because I think that woke us up and put some fire and intensity in us.”
In a somewhat sloppy first half, the only points put on the board were from the foot of senior kicker Noe Pereles, who nailed a 17-yard field goal with 7:34 remaining in the first half.
Dobson had decent field position throughout the evening but was stymied when it came to getting down to the red zone.
“We gave up some big plays, especially when they ran a trap in the middle,” Dobson coach George De La Torre said. “We need a little work on offense but overall, I was extremely proud of the defense in only allowing one touchdown. We’re in a position where we’re pretty young with a lot of junior starters. We’re trying to help our kids win some confidence.”
Meanwhile, Mesa senior quarterback Chris Shelton scored the game’s only touchdown when he dashed in from a yard out with 6:49 left in the third quarter giving the visitors a 9-0 lead. Shelton ran for 15 yards and tossed for another 51 for the game.
Pereles then put the finishing touches on the victory when he added a 27-yard field goal with just over 3 minutes remaining in the contest.
Dobson started showing significant signs of life offensively in the fourth quarter. But six penalties for 55 yards nullified any penetration past Mesa’s 30-yard line. Dobson was flagged for 80 yards on nine penalties for the game.
Senior running back Christian Davis was held in check all night before leaving with what looked like a left ankle injury late in the third quarter.
Dobson junior quarterback Joshua Jaramillo ran the offense well but was sacked three times by a stingy Mesa High defense. Jaramillo finished tossing for 127 yards on 8-of-15 passing. Four of Jaramillo’s completions came in the final minutes of the game when Dobson, amidst the six penalties, was making a serious push to get into the end zone.
Mesa senior linebacker Dameon Miller’s sack of Jaramillo was the final play of the game.
“We traditionally start slow and improve as the season wears on,” Moore said. “It feels good to get the monkey off our backs.”