SCOTTSDALE, AZ - Mesa played nearly even with sixth-ranked Scottsdale through most of the first half before a series of big plays by their opponent derailed any hope of an MCC upset for the second straight week in a 58-29 loss in WSFL action Saturday night.
The T-Birds led, 17-13, with two minutes left in the first half only to see SCC use two of those big plays to go to the lockerroom with a 27-17 advantage. The first play of the second half only added to the MCC deficit and things seemed to spiral downward from there.
The Artichokes scored three of their four fisrt half TDs on plays of 41, 44 and 99 yards and used a 65-yard pass to set up the other.
Mesa indicted it was not going to go down lighly from the very beginning, scoring on its first possession, a 21-yard pass from Austin Apodaca (So., Longmont, Colo/Silver Creek H.S.) to Dusty Cook (Fr., Gilbert, AZ/Highland H.S.).
The Chokes countered with the first of the big plays, a 41-yard strike from Michael Sanders to Za'Quan Summers, but missed the PAT leaving the Thunderbirds in front, 7-6.
A four-yard run by Austin Cottrell gave Scottsdale a 13-7 lead, but that play had been set up by a 65-yard pass to the T-Bird 15. MCC came right back, driving 77 yards on ten plays with Apodaca and Cook connecting again, this time from the two just after the start of the second quarter.
Austin Carver (Fr., Gilbert, AZ/Gilbert H.S.) booted a 27-yard field goal at the 5:55 mark to extened MCC's margin to 17-13, but that was where things started to unravel.
On a third-and-25 situation Sanders threw a 44-yard TD pass to Thaddeous Thompson, putting SCC on top to stay with 1:54 to play in the half.
With the ball at mid-field, Apodaca attempted to go deep, only to see the pass intercepted at the one and returned 99 yards for a score by Cloves Campbell.
Mesa had piled up over 250 yards of offense in the first half alone, only to trail by ten at the break. The T-Birds had even squandered another golden opportunity, fumbling the ball away on the Scottsdale 11.
The first play of the second half may have broken the T-Birds' back. Kevin Momnohin took the opening kickoff and returned it 99 yards for what seemed to be a TD. However, the Artichokes lost a small portion of the return on a penalty and had to settle for starting at the Mesa 21. Three plays later Hiram Velez went over from the three giving SCC a 34-17 margin.
Following a 20-yard TD pass from Sanders to Summers, The Thunderbirds went 65-yards capped by a 21-yard score from Apodaca to Tyler Eggers (So., Chandler, AZ/Hamilton H.S.).
MCC ended the scoring as time exprired on a two-yard pass from Brennen Dobson (Fr., Mesa, AZ/Red Moutain H.S.) to Eggers.
Apodaca finished 25-48 for 338 yards and three TDs. Eggers caught nine passes for 105 yards and Joshua Aganon (Fr., Scottsdale, AZ/Chaparral H.S.) hauled in six for 63 yards. Dewitt Caswell (Fr., Riverside, Calif/Martin Luther King H.S.) ran the ball 16 times for 102 yards.
The T-Birds finish the regular season 3-5 and will host a WSFL consolation sem-final game on Nov. 1, most likely against New Mexico Military.
Other WSFL scores:
Snow 73, Pima 6
Eastern Arizona 49, New Mexico Military 10
Glendale 31, Phoenix 0
Arizona Western 34, Air Force Prep 6