Verrado Edges Desert Edge in Overtime Thriller

Chase Hunter, Writer

Verrado players celebrating their win after a remarkable win
Victoria Cabrera
Verrado players celebrating their win after a remarkable win

In a televised event Thursday night, the Verrado Vipers (7-3) shocked Desert Edge Scorpions (9-1) at their field in a double overtime game that gave the Scorpions their first loss since September 11, 2015; a 20-game win streak.

The game was dominated by defense, which resulted in the low score of the game 6-3.

The Scorpion’s star, Senior quarterback Tehran Thomas, got loose a few times on broken plays, but was otherwise held in check by a swarming, vicious Verrado defense. He only completed one pass more than 10 yards past the line of scrimmage.

The Vipers moved the ball much more effectively than Desert Edge; however, they hit a brick wall each time they neared the Red Zone.

Junior running back Ja’tai Jenkins gained consistent yardage in between the tackles, but was stuffed by blitzing each time the Scorpions needed a stop.

Senior quarterback Maverick Gamez took a few bone-crushing sacks early in the game by a colossal Desert Edge defensive line. Historical note, last time Gamez played against the Scorpions, he broke his collarbone.

Gamez shook off the hits and scrambled out of the pocket again and again to gain key first downs. He even completed a beautiful arching pass to Junior wide receiver Elijah Johnson which set up the game-tying field goal in the 2nd quarter.

The final two quarters were uneventful to say the least. No scores. No game-changing plays. Just two immovable objects conceding the ball back and forth for 24 minutes.

While uneventful, the most important play in the eyes of Athletic Director Adam Brezovsky was in the middle of the fourth quarter. “I have to say when they lined up 4th and 1 on the goal line in their power package- and we stopped them. It had to be the biggest play.”

During overtime, the rules are as such: after a coin flip, the ball is placed at the opponent’s 10-yard line and each team is given a chance with the ball unless the first team scores a touchdown. If no victor is determined, the process will start over again until a victor is found.

Verrado won the first coin toss. After three running plays with Jenkins, the Vipers were lined up mere inches away from clinching the win. Another run play was called and Jenkins was met at the line by a hoard of Desert Edge linebackers.

Desert Edge took control and the Viper defense piled up Thomas time and time again. Desert Edge brought out its special teams unit to kick what would be the game winning field goal.

That is not what Senior cornerback Ruben Lebron had in mind. He bent around the tackle and smacked the ball in mid-flight, preventing a Desert Edge victory and sending the game to double overtime.

The Scorpions won the toss but were stopped by the Vipers on three straight plays. On fourth down with the game on the line, Thomas stepped back and threw a fade to the corner of the end zone but the ball and batted down by a Verrado cornerback.

“I thought the kids played the best game I’ve ever seen them play in four years,” said Defensive Coordinator Tom Ward. “The defense was just flying around on the field.”

With the ball back in the hands of the offense, the Vipers’ coaching staff decided not to be greedy and elected for their special teams to kick a field goal. Senior kicker Jose Gonzales lined up for the kick with a howling crowd surrounding him.

“My whole body was shaking,” said Gonzales. “I kicked it straight and got hit in the legs, but I kept my eye on the ball, and I knew we won.”

The Desert Edge side of the stadium entered a chilling silence while Verrado students jumped over the fence and rushed the field to celebrate with the victorious players.

“It was the hardest fought game I’ve ever seen,” said Brezovsky. “The most lopsided game expectation that resulted in an upset.”

Final score: Verrado 6, Desert Edge 3 (2OT).