Moody and Springville played a game for the ages last week at Bill Morris Stadium, and when the final horn sounded, the Blue Devils walked away with a hard-fought 25-19 victory that came down to the wire.
Springville lit up the scoreboard first after they recovered a Moody fumble on a punt at the Blue Devil 25-yard line. Two plays later, quarterback Pearson Baldwin tossed a 10-yard touchdown pass to Jace Hayes with 2:58 remaining in the first quarter. The PAT by Hunter Ambrose was good, making the score 7-0.
Moody took the ensuing kickoff starting at its own 36-yard line and drove to the Springville 10, where on fourth down Christian Sierra kicked a 27-yard field goal, making it 7-3.
The two teams traded punts and then Springville turned the ball over on downs. Moody drove 46 yards in six plays to take its first lead of the game. The touchdown came on a 3-yard run by quarterback Connor Rush. Sierra added the extra point, making the halftime score 10-7.
Springville regained the lead in the third quarter as Baldwin raced 29 yards for a touchdown with 4:50 remaining. The PAT was no good and the score was 13-10.
Moody’s Robert Grames returned the ensuing kickoff back to the Springville 27. A few plays later, on fourth down and 7 from the 13, Moody lined up for a 30-yard field goal attempt to tie the game. Moody head coach Adam Wallace called timeout because he only had 10 players on the field.
During the timeout, Wallace decided to go for it on fourth down, and it paid off as Rush connected with Grames for a 13-yard touchdown pass. Sierra added the extra point, making it 17-13 Moody headed into the fourth quarter.
With 9:01 left in the game, Springville regained the lead as Baldwin threw a 6-yard touchdown pass to Ben Bianchi. The PAT was blocked and the score stood at 19-17.
Not to be outdone, Moody drove the ball down to the Tiger 16, where on third down and 7, Rush raced into the end zone for a 16-yard touchdown. The extra point was a fake as Aidan Calvert ran the ball in for the 2-point conversion, making the score 25-19 with 4:10 remaining in the game.
It was shaping up to be one of those games where the last team with the football would score and win. That’s what Springville had in mind as they drove down field. They converted a fourth down and 9 play as Baldwin hooked up with Hayes for a 35-yard gain.
Baldwin had runs of 8 and 3 yards to get the football to the 2-yard line for a first and goal. Baldwin kept the ball on the next play for no gain, but Springville coaches thought he had scored.
After a 5-yard illegal procedure penalty against the Tigers, Kobye Payton fumbled the football on a carry and Moody’s Caleb Rothe recovered the fumble with 47 seconds remaining in the game. Payton was injured on the play.
Moody was able to run out the clock and preserve the victory.
Wallace called it an unbelievable game.
“I could not be more proud of our student body, band and community tonight,” Wallace said. “The stadium was rocking and our players fed off that energy. Hats off to Springville. Those kids came over here and played their guts out. Tonight embodies what high school football is all about. The highs and lows, coaches making adjustments on the fly, and kids laying it all out there to help their team win.”
Wallace said his guys have worked so hard for this moment and all that hard work paid off tonight.
“I could not ask for a better team or staff to go to battle with,” Wallace said. “I am so proud of them. We were fortunate to come away with the win tonight. All three phases of the game contributed big plays.”
Springville head coach Michael Graben said he would like to congratulate Coach Wallace, along with the players and coaches at Moody.
“It was a great atmosphere,” Graben said. “I’m proud of our kids and appreciate the support our community gives our kids.”
Graben said his kids learned a life lesson Friday night on that football field.
“Pearson’s effort to get into the end zone, even though the official said he was down, showed his heart and character,” Graben said. “The next play where Kobye got hurt, we are thankful he is OK because he got his facemask jerked around pretty good. Moving forward, we have two weeks left with this great group of kids.”
With the win, the Blue Devils improved to 3-4 overall and 2-3 in region play. They will host Center Point Friday.
Springville, 3-5 overall, will host Mortimer Jordan Friday.
Reach Gary Hanner at firstname.lastname@example.org.