Mistakes at inopportune times will kill you in football, and a youthful Bradshaw Mountain team learned that invaluable lesson in a Week 2 clash Friday night in Goodyear.
In 4A play, Estrella Foothills forced three turnovers as well as a botched field goal toward the end of the first half, and the Wolves would later hold on for a 20-16 win over Bradshaw Mountain.
The Bears also committed 11 penalties, and yet they still had a chance at a victory with a minute left in regulation.
With the win, Estrella Foothills improved to 2-1 overall, while Bradshaw Mountain remained winless at 0-2. This is the Wolves’ second year in 4A after moving up from the lower-enrollment 3A.
The Wolves of the Black Canyon region did not score in the second half and just barely held on.
Estrella Foothills quarterback Tyler Godfrey, who doubles at linebacker, split time under center with Regan Jenkins, who played most of the second half. Godfrey unofficially completed 6 of 15 passes for 124 yards and two TDs.
Bears starting quarterback Timmy Young played only the first half, unofficially finishing 7 of 16 for 74 yards and a TD run. Junior Austin Gonzalez replaced Young and was effective despite throwing an interception at the end of the third quarter and fumbling on Bradshaw’s opening drive of the fourth quarter.
With 5:03 left in the fourth and Bradshaw down 20-7, Gonzalez threw a 40-yard TD pass to Ruben Gonzales and Brandon Fischer drilled the extra point to put the Bears within reach of a come-from-behind win in the waning minutes. Trailing 20-14, Bradshaw Mountain had two chances to win the game, including with 2:41 remaining and inside of a minute to go. On the first opportunity, the Bears’ defense had the ball at the Wolves’ 15 after Estrella punted and committed a personal foul. Later, on fourth down from the 13, Gonzalez ran for 7 yards and fell short of a first-and-goal, turning it over on downs.
Estrella Foothills then proceeded to eat the clock on its next possession, despite being buried deep in its own end. The Wolves took two delay-of-game penalties, allowed a safety and free-kicked the ball away. Bradshaw Mountain would convert on 4th-and-1 inside of a minute to go. Later, just past midfield and with one second left, Gonzalez rolled out and was brought down as time expired.
Bradshaw Mountain trailed 20-7 at halftime. Estrella Foothills seemed to swing the momentum of the game in its favor with 15 seconds left in the second quarter when the Bears botched a field goal attempt that could’ve cut their deficit to 14-10.
Instead, the Wolves took over at their 40-yard line with 12 seconds to go. On first down, Godfrey bobbled the snap, but he recovered and tossed a deep ball to wideout Trent Campbell for a 60-yard TD as time expired to hand Estrella its 13-point lead.
The Bears led 7-0 with 8:50 left in the first quarter, scoring on their opening drive when Young ran in on a 1-yard keeper after a 25-yard run by Logan Brannan. The Wolves would later tie, with 6:01 in the opening period, on a 30-yard TD pass from Godfrey to Campbell.
In Week 3, Bradshaw Mountain returns to Bob Pavlich Field in Prescott Valley at 7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 8, when the Bears battle Combs of San Tan Valley. Estrella Foothills visits Apache Junction at 7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 8.
Follow Doug Cook on Twitter @dougout_dc. Reach him at 928-445-3333 ext. 2039, or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.