The Mohave Thunderbirds came into the Walkup Skydome and played spoiler on the Flagstaff Eagles football team's Homecoming night on Friday.
Mohave scored 14 points in the fourth quarter to edge the Eagles 21-20 and hand Flagstaff its third straight loss. The Eagles dropped to 2-3 overall and 0-2 in the Grand Canyon Region while Mohave improved to 2-3 and 1-0 in the Grand Canyon Region.
With his team leading 20-14 with around three minutes to play in the fourth quarter, Flagstaff running back Luis Jaramillo had a 60-yard touchdown run called back because of a holding penalty -- one of three Flagstaff touchdowns called off because of flags.
The Eagles were forced to punt after being backed up into their own territory, giving the Thunderbirds a chance with 2:43 left.
The Thunderbirds moved the ball on the Eagles behind their triple-option run, getting the ball inside Eagles territory around the 25-yard line. Mohave quarterback Dylan Barela, who had just six pass attempts on the season with zero touchdowns entering the night, completed the go-ahead score with under a minute left in the game.
The Eagles, facing a 21-20 deficit, had a breath of life when quarterback Joe Weidinger found Ryan Tagle deep down the middle for a near 60-yard gain -- putting the Eagles in scoring position.
Flagstaff was playing without starting kicker Oscar Castruita, making kicking a field goal a tough task. After Flagstaff burned its final timeout of the game, Weidinger looked toward the end zone but put too much air on the pass as Mohave's defensive back undercut the ball to get the game-sealing interception.
"We've made some personnel changes for various reasons with injuries and different things," Eagles first-year head coach Todd Hanley said. "It's just about getting that timing down to get going. I felt like we ran the ball really well, but we had holding calls and they came back, so you gotta clean that up. We can clean that up and that's coaches, we got to do a better job.
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"It's kinda the old back to the drawing board thing."
Flagstaff allowed Barela to surpass his season passing totals as he threw for about 66 yards and the go-ahead score.
"We got to get a consistent secondary; it's changed a lot like I said for various reasons. Personnel-wise it's the same thing there," Hanley said.
Stephen Canizales had a pair of long touchdown runs in the third quarter each called back on holding penalties. The Eagles did end up scoring on the first of Canizales's runs called back, with the Eagles marching down the field for a long drive capped off with a 6-yard touchdown run by Canizales.
Jaramillo finished with about 78 rushing yards and two touchdowns, and Canizales added in 47 yards and a score.
Backup quarterback Morgan Bewley started the game in place of Weidinger, leading the Eagles to their first touchdown drive of the day on the opening possession. A few penalties forced Flagstaff back on the drive, only for Jaramillo to burst off a 50-yard touchdown run.
Weidinger completed 8 of 14 passes with two interceptions.
The Eagles host Bradshaw Mountain (3-3, 1-1 Grand Canyon) Friday in the Skydome.