Buena junior quarterback Jovoni Borbon stands at all of 5-foot-10 and 175 pounds but he showed in the Colts’ dramatic 16-15 win over Sahuaro today that his composure in the pocket allows him to rise up to a serious challenge.
“I made sure he was calm, and I said, ‘Hey, we just got to make plays,'” Buena coach Joe Thomas said of his three-year starting quarterback. “Players make plays and he had some composure.”
Borbon’s 4-yard pass to tight end Jose Cheno on a fourth-and-goal play with 54.9 seconds left in the game put the Colts ahead 16-15. It capped a masterful 15-play, 97-yard drive engineered by Borbon, who completed his last nine pass attempts of the game after throwing an interception with 7:50 left in the third quarter.
Buena's go-ahead winning TD pass from four yards out on fourth down with 54.9 seconds left. Jovoni Borbon's pass to Jose Cheno on a play-action call (made by Borbon) gave the Colts a 16-15 lead over Sahuaro and they held on to win by that score. Story upcoming @AllSporrsTucson pic.twitter.com/1K6UFSsgZd
— Javier Morales (@JavierJMorales) August 25, 2018
Borbon (who was 15 of 19 for 211 yards in the game) connected on six passes in the game-clinching drive, including a 20-yard pass over the middle to tight end Timothy Jones on a third-and-10 play from his own 3-yard line.
“That drive … if we played like that the whole game, we’d be winning by 42,” Borbon said. “We should have came out passing like that. … Everybody was doing their assignments. Everybody was doing good. If we had a better run, we’d be moving … the pass is what really helped us out.”
Sahuaro held Buena’s running game to only 69 yards on 30 carries. Despite taking that away, the Cougars found Borbon to be a frustrating challenge. In the game-winning drive, five of Borbon’s six completions were to different receivers.
Thomas praised Borbon while addressing his team after the game, yelling to them that it was his veteran quarterback who made the play-action call — faking a dive handoff to Jones — before completing the short pass over the top to Cheno, who led Buena with four catches for 56 yards.
Thomas told his players that Borbon’s performance shows that the leaders on the team have what it takes to win.
“Our quarterback made that last call. I said, ‘Hey, what do you want to run?'” Thomas said. “He came to me with the call. I’ve been with him three years. I trust him. He made the call. It was the right call.”
Borbon said of the call: “They were on Timmy the whole game. They knew we were going to go to Tim. They were scared of Timmy. In my mind, I knew if we dove, they were going to jump right on it. I tried to seal it as long as I could because I knew if they jumped, Jose would be wide open in the end zone.”
When Sahuaro scored 15 unanswered points to start the second half to take a 15-10 lead with 2:43 left in the third quarter, Borbon and the Colts appeared as if they were out of energy after making two drives to Tucson within a 15-hour time frame.
They were forced to drive back to Sierra Vista late last night after lightning storms postponed the game at Sahuaro. They pulled into Sierra Vista after 10:30 p.m. The players had to get as much rest and sleep in as possible for a 5:30 a.m. wake-up call to be at Buena by 6:30 a.m. for the departure back to Tucson for the 10 a.m. rescheduled start.
“You have to go through adversity,” Thomas said. “We had to play this game. … This is the game we wanted. We had to have it. We were ready to play regardless.”
An interception thrown by Borbon occurred before Sahuaro drove 86 yards on a 13-play drive that was capped off by a 4-yard touchdown run by fullback Cameron Williams, his second rushing score of the game.
Speedy Trayvion White-Austin had an end-around run for 31 yards and Izaiah Davis — who rushed 15 times for 116 yards — had five rushes for 31 yards on that drive. Sahuaro looked like it was taking control of the game at the line, wearing Buena down in the midday heat.
Sahuaro's Cameron Williams 1-yard run off tackle for the score. Cougars trail Buena 10-7 with 10:04 left 3Q. pic.twitter.com/eBsapY1a0m
— Javier Morales (@JavierJMorales) August 25, 2018
Things looked even more bleak after Buena was stopped on downs in the possession after Sahuaro took the 15-10 lead. The Cougars then threatened again driving to the Buena 29 behind four runs by Davis for 39 yards. Buena’s defense managed to stop the Cougars, who punted from Buena’s 32-yard line to the 3.
That’s when Buena’s game-winning drive fueled by Borbon’s passing took place.
The game was far from over, however, after the Borbon-to-Cheno score.
Buena tried to catch Sahuaro off-guard with an onside kick but the Cougars recovered at their own 45-yard line with 50 seconds left. A 30-yard pass completion by Izaiah Grigsby to Abrien Painter took the ball to the 25-yard line. Grigsby then connected on an 8-yard pass to Ahmed Hunter.
After an illegal procedure penalty and two incomplete passes, Sahuaro faced a 4th-and-7 at the Buena 23 with 6 seconds left. Sahuaro coach Scott McKee first sent his field goal unit out before the Colts called timeout. McKee changed his mind and a “Hail Mary” pass to the end zone as time expired was intercepted by Jones.
“We know how to face adversity and we showed that we have a lot of heart,” said Jones, who wore a large chain around his neck after his teammates voted him the Lockdown Player of the Game because of the interception.
Instead of enjoying only a pizza on the way back to Sierra Vista, Buena can enjoy the win especially after losing at Sahuaro 31-21 last season.
“We’ll have a nice drive back,” Thomas said. “We have a bye week this week so we’re going to enjoy this win. We’re sitting at 1-1 right now. I’m proud of these guys, a good group of guys.”
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ALLSPORTSTUCSON.com publisher, writer and editor Javier Morales is a former Arizona Press Club award winner. He is a former Arizona Daily Star beat reporter for the Arizona basketball team, including when the Wildcats won the 1996-97 NCAA title. He has also written articles for CollegeAD.com, Bleacher Report, Lindy’s Sports, TucsonCitizen.com, The Arizona Republic, Sporting News and Baseball America, among many other publications. He has also authored the book “The Highest Form of Living”, which is available at Amazon.