Never underestimate the power of a good sweat.
Kyle Holmes found Logan Clogston in the left corner of the end zone on an ad-libbed 2-point conversion play with 1:02 remaining, lifting fourth-ranked Arbor View to a dramatic 22-21 home victory over third-ranked Desert Pines in a key Class 5A showdown Friday night.
“It was supposed to be a running play, and it broke down,” Holmes said about Aggies coach Matt Gerber’s bold decision to go for the win after Richard Washington’s 7-yard run sliced the Jaguars’ lead to 21-20.
“They had me by the leg,” Holmes said about avoiding an apparent sack. “The thing that really helped me (wriggle loose) was the sweat that went into my cleats.”
Arbor View committed three turnovers, two of which resulted in Desert Pines touchdowns, and was turned away inches from the goal line on the final play of the first half or it might have won more easily.
“We thought at halftime we were dominating, but we were killing ourselves,” Gerber said after Arbor View improved to 4-1 after a season-opening loss to powerful Liberty.
And the thought process about going for 2 at the end?
“There was never a second thought in my mind,” said Gerber, whose team trailed 21-7 at halftime before Makhai Donaldson (25 carries, 229 yards, two touchdowns) scored on an 18-yard run and Holmes and Clogston improvised like a couple of jazz musicians on the game-winning play after Washington’s TD run.
“We were running the ball, and Kyle had a little bit of a scramble and came out to the left side,” Clogston said about his only catch of the night. “I was going to go block for him, but I saw my corner fly up in front of me. I saw the opportunity to go back in the end zone.
“It was money. It was over right then and there,” Clogston said about seeing the ball floating toward him.
Desert Pines (2-1) scored 53 points in a shootout victory over Orem, Utah, in its last game, but it took the visitors most of the first quarter to get on the scoreboard against Arbor View.
Rjay Tagataese completed a short pass to Lavon Brown that the Jaguars’ wide receiver turned into a 60-yard touchdown by breaking a tackle at midfield.
The two connected again in the first minute of the second quarter. After Tyree Beasley intercepted an overthrown pass and returned it 30 yards, Tagataese (16 for 28 passing, 222 yards, two TDs) found Brown on a crossing pattern in the end zone for a 14-0 Jaguars lead.
Donaldson, Arbor View’s excellent sophomore running back, broke loose for 52 yards, setting up his 5-yard scoring run before Desert Pines cashed in when Holmes tried a jump pass under duress that was intercepted by Isaiah Rubin and returned 20 yards for a touchdown, putting the Jaguars ahead 21-7.
Arbor View nearly got back into the game by driving to the Desert Pines’ 2-yard line before Washington was ruled down inches from the goal line on the final play of the first half.