MESA, AZ - A 34-17 victory over Pima Saturday night at John D. Riggs Stadium gave the Mesa football team victories in its last two games and a .500 finish in a season decimated by injuries.
The T-Birds thus won the WSFL Consolation Playoff final to close the year at 5-5 and ensure the third straight season at .500 or better under head coach Ryan Felker. MCC had won the seven games combined in the previous four years before his arrival.
The T-Birds opened the scoring Saturday on their second possession when they marched 96 yards. That came after Jalen Jenkins (Fr., Chandler, AZ/Hamilton H.S.) intercepted a Kian Homme pass at the four yard line. Austin Apodaca (So., Longmont, Colo/Silver Creek H.S.) threw a 21-yard TD pass to Garette Craig (So., Phoenix, AZ/Mountain Pointe H.S.) for the score.
Mesa quickly made it 13-0 as Apodaca hit Chett Levay (Fr., Tampa, Fla/Sickles H.S.) from 18 yards out which came after Craig returned a punt 33 yards to the PCC 22. The extra point was blocked.
The Aztecs used an MCC fumble at its own 26 yard line to set up a two-yard score by Ben Gardner with 8:29 to go in the half, but the T-Birds answered quickly as they drove 75 yards on ten plays with Apodaca tossing an 18-yard TD to Dusty Cook (Fr., Gilbert, AZ/Highland H.S.). On that pass Apodaca equalled the school record of completed passes in a year with 229. The mark was set last year by Blake Kemp. Apodaca ultimately pushed his total to 233.
Pima sliced the margin to 20-10 on a 28-yard field goal by Tanner Fanning as time expired in the half.
It remained that way until Kashwell Robinson (So. Scottsdale, AZ/Saguaro H.S.) caught a two-yard TD pass from Apodaca, his fourth TD pass of the night, midway through the third quarter.
PCC added the big play of the night when Max Shepherd intercepted a Brennen Dobson (Fr., Mesa, AZ/Red Mountain H.S.) and raced 97 yards for a score.
Mesa closed the scoring early in the fourth quarter on a one-yard sneak by Apodaca. He finished 17-33 for 239 yards and had a hand in all five touchdowns.
Craig wound up catching 11 passes for 168 yards and one TD.
Other WSFL scores:
Eastern Arizona 24, New Mexico Military 13
Snow 49, Glendale 21
Arizona Western 52, Scottsdale 27