A game that started with a two-touchdown lead for the Phoenix Pinnacle Pioneers turned into a back-and-forth, grind-it-out, hard-fought battle to the final play.
A last second heave into the end zone was almost hauled in by a gang of Salpointe receivers who were camped out in the end zone after quarterback Treyson Bourguet bought time on the final play, but ultimately Pinnacle came out on top 28-21 over the Lancers.
It would’ve been tough to imagine that the outcome would be decided on the final play to start the night with Pinnacle taking a commanding 14-0 lead.
The Pioneers have star power on offense. They have highly-touted junior wideout/tight end Duce Robinson, who has Arizona, Arizona State, Arkansas, and Clemson on his lists. Clemson’s offensive coordinator Tony Elliott was on hand to watch the talented junior standout, along with Washington coach Jimmy Lake.
Robinson made his presence known early, helping to convert on a 4th-and-1 for not only what they needed for the first, but much, much more, hauling in a pass and taking it 45 yards to the end zone.
You would expect nothing less from a school once featured on Netflix’s QB1: Beyond the Lights television show (the show followed the senior season of current Oklahoma quarterback and Heisman hopeful Spencer Rattler).
Pioneers quarterback Zach Wren would once again connect with his 6-foot-6 wideout for another score down the sideline to make it a quick 14-0 ballgame.
“He is special, there is just no doubt about it,” said Lancer coach Eric Rogers. “He makes plays, he did it over and over, it was third down after third down after third down.”
Throughout the game, the Pioneers were were able to sustain long, time consuming drives that chewed up a good portion of the clock (one drive in particular lasted nearly the entire third quarter).
However, the Lancers finally got on board thanks to a well-placed throw by Bourguet to Gage Felix. Rogers was very impressed by the leadership that he has seen from his quarterback throughout the year.
“He’s our leader, he’s our captain, he has been gutsy as can be,” Rogers said. “And I know last week, we never really got in a chance to get into a rhythm, throw the ball, we were running it, and I knew, he was going to come out tonight and play gutsy as can be and he did.”
While Rogers was talking about Bourguet’s gutsy play throughout the game, one play in particular might have been on his mind.
With time ticking down in the first half, Bourguet rolled to his right, looking for an open man, before taking off. From there, it was off to the races
On the following play, the Lancers’ quarterback would run a read option, pulling it and keep it himself to tie things up at 14 as the teams went into the locker rooms at the half. He would finish the game going 16-26 passing for 168 yards.
Pinnacle’s defense made a play in the early stages of the third quarter, picking off a Lancer pass. This is where the ball control, clock-killing offense really hit their stride, using up the entirety of the rest of the third quarter to march down the field, eventually scoring to start the fourth quarter.
Rogers was asked about that third quarter drive and its importance.
“It was huge (for Pinnacle), again we just couldn’t make that play on third down to get ourselves off the field,” Rogers said.
Salpointe fought back to make the score once again even at 21 on a Anthony Wilhite 2-yard touchdown run. Wilhite, the feature back for the Lancers, rushed for 75 yards on 17 carries and a touchdown.
The final blow came from the ensuing Pinnacle possession, where once again it drained the clock from 6:30 left down to just over a minute to go in the game, capping it off with a run by Jacobie Rucker.
Rogers also preached to his team about getting back to work and getting to “1-0” for the week
He said that he found out about the heart of his team even more so after a game in which it fell behind 14-0 and fought and clawed back against a tough, out-of-city and unfamiliar opponent like Pinnacle.
“We got a lot of heart, those kids are courageous and we are planning on playing a lot more football,” Rogers said.
“A lot more football” begins with their game Friday against 5A Southern foe Desert View, which is 5-0 for only the second time in program history. The Lancers (3-2) and Desert View will play at Jaguar Stadium at 7 p.m.
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ALLSPORTSTUCSON.com writing intern Harrison Moreno is a southern Arizona native who has watched Wildcat athletics since he was young kid. He recently is a graduate of The University of Arizona’s School of Journalism, with a focus in broadcast and audio journalism.