In a game that saw both teams spend the majority of the night trying to lose, the Estrella Foothills Wolves managed to walk away with a one point overtime win to keep everybody happy on homecoming. In the first quarter both offenses went out of their way to establish the line of scrimmage as Foothills and River Valley went for, and failed to convert on fourth down. The stalemate held during the first with a 0-0 score.
In second quarter, the stalemate would be broken when River Valley linebacker Jake Anselmo intercepted an Estrella Foothills pass. On the ensuing offensive play, Anselmo, also the Dust Devil QB, would pitch the ball to running back Robert Stahel on option right. Stahel then sprinted 53 yards to get the ball to the Foothills five. Anselmo would score two plays later on a quarterback sneak up the middle. PAT good. River Valley up 7-0.
On the following possession, Estrella Foothills got something going, taking advantage of River Valley penalties and mixing nicely the run and pass. The big play of the drive took place as an apparent interception went through the hands of a River Valley defender only to be caught by Estrella Foothills receiver Aaron Jewell. Wes Budge made a nice run to get the ball into scoring position, but the Wolves were hit with a penalty, pushed back and eventually ran out of time in the half as they attempted a field goal. 7-0 Dust Devils at the end of the first half.
In the second half, Foothills followed the formula that had moved the ball at the end of the first half. On their first drive, Foothills banged out 15 yards on their first two runs, took advantage of multiple River Valley penalties and hit tight end Troy Coleman on a pass up the middle. With nice running by multiple backs due to tough work in the trenches, Wes Budge would eventually get it in on a short run. With the PAT, the score was knotted 7-7.
The next two offensive possessions saw River Valley become very careless with the ball, throwing an interception and most costly fumbling on their own 33. Off the penalty, the Wolves would eventually get the ball inside the ten on a nice catch by 6-4 receiver Sean Duncan. Running back Nijhel Simmons would score off the right side and with the extra point, the home standing Wolves were up 14-7.
With 6:45 left in the game, Foothills looked to have things well in hand as junior linebacker Derrick Laughner intercepted a River Valley pass, but this game and River Valley had plenty of life left. In the waning minutes of the fourth, River Valley worked into Foothill's territory. From the 31 yard line, QB Jake Anselmo hit Cody Taylor for a touchdown score. The PAT was good. Tie ball game, get ready for OT!
In the OT, River Valley had the ball first and looked like they might be stopped, but on fourth down, Anselmo snuck the ball in for the score. On the all important PAT, Estrella Foothills end Garrit Speckhard got in and blocked the kick. 20-14 River Valley.
Fired up by the big block, the Estrella Foothills offense took care of business in two plays, hitting pay dirt on a nine yard Wes Budge run. Calmly, kicker Erik Eggert came out, hit the PAT, making the final 21-20 to the delight of the homecoming fans.
This game was not pretty, but Estrella Foothills gained its first varsity win over River Valley in school history. In the second half, Estrella Foothills established the line of scrimmage, especially on the offensive side of the ball. The defense got to the ball, made big plays and created turnovers throughout the night. The Wolves are now 4-2 and with a lineup filled with underclassmen, could be a team to watch in the second half of the season.
In a game that came down to every possession, defensive end Garrit Speckhard's block of the River Vally PAT in overtime made the difference.