Scottsdale, AZ - The evening began well for the #11 Mesa Thunderbirds football team but didn't quite end the same way as the #19 Scottsdale Artichokes upended the T-Birds, 38-28.
The scoring didn't begin til the 2nd quarter when Mesa quarterback Christian Lopez connected on a 30 yard touchdown pass down the left sideline to Deyton Jackson for a 7-0 lead. The Artichokes answered Mesa's scoring drive with a scoring drive less then a minute and half later, finished off with a one yard touchdown run.
Lopez took the offensive unit right back down the field again and finished off a quick drive with a three yard touchdown pass to wideout Darius Aguirre. On the ensuing Scottsdale possession, the Mesa defense stepped up and forced the Artichokes to settle for a 27 yard field goal to make the score 14-10 Mesa.
With less than two minutes left in the half, Mesa orchestrated a scoring drive that was finished off with a one yard quarterback keeper from Christian Lopez to extend Mesa's lead to 21-10 with just over a minute left to play.
Scottsdale's momentum on the final drive of the half would change the perception of the rest of the game in the Artichokes favor. The Chokes connected on a 48 yard touchdown pass with 30 seconds left, a score that would lead to 28 unanswered points from Scottsdale that would extend late into the fourth quarter.
Mesa's ineffectiveness to score points was due to the constant Artichoke pressure, sacking Mesa quarterback Christian Lopez six times in the second half and forcing multiple quick throws. The lone score for Mesa came in the second half with 3:23 left in the game by Darius Aguirre, who, after escaping multiple initial tacklers to scamper 90 yards for a punt return touchdown.
The T-Birds are 3-2 overall on the season but still 1-1 in conference play. The last five games of the season will all count towards their conference record, playing Phoenix College next week at Phoenix, then home against Glendale on October 14th. After a bye week, the Artichokes will then play at Mesa on October 28th and they will then finish off their final two games against Arizona Western and at home against Pima on November 11th.