Isaac Colindres
ASU Student Journalist

Football: Mountain View Tops Corona Del Sol with strong fourth-quarter play

September 2, 2017 by Isaac Colindres, Arizona State University

With 7:10 left in the 4th quarter, Devin Waite intercepted Tempe Corona Del Sol’s Ryan Helt and returned the ball for a 32-yard touchdown. The pick-six extended Mesa  Mountain View’s lead to  28-12. The Aztecs' sideline let out a collective sigh. The interception all but sealed the loss for their team.

Mountain View went on to win the game 35-18, but that score is not the most accurate reflection of what happened in Mesa Friday night. Before Waite’s interception, the Toros led 21-12 and Corona Del Sol was steadily driving down the field.

“That [interception] was just a great play by Devin. I was telling these boys, when you can have offense, defense and special teams all playing well, you can win a lot of football games,” said Mike Fell, head coach of the Toros. “And that’s what happened tonight.”

Mountain View (2-0) and Corona Del Sol (1-2) committed several turnovers in the first half. Helt threw three interceptions in the loss as he struggled to find open receivers, but the Toros QB Brandon Nuñez was experiencing his own distress in the pocket as he matched Helt with three turnovers of his own.

Mountain View’s offense scored 21 of their 35 points, but Fell said the other two sides of the ball came up huge for the Toros.

Fell received a game ball at halftime Friday night for last week reaching 200 wins in his high school football career.  The game ball went to Toros defensive end Jared Mix for the win over Corona Del Sol.

The 6-foot-3, 230-pound senior collected 4 ½ sacks and batted down two passes at the line of scrimmage.

“I started to learn what [the offensive tackle] did on his first steps so I picked up what was going on, and I was able to get by him,” Mix said. “The first home game got me really hyped.”

Before the game, Corona Del Sol was keying in on the running game in an attempt to avoid the pass rush and to relieve pressure on its junior quarterback. “We’ve been throwing the ball a lot, we’re going to try to run the ball more tonight,” said Aztecs head coach Jon Becktold. “We’re trying to get more balanced each week.”

Helt went on to complete 56 percent of his passes on the night -- two for touchdowns -- and threw a whopping 48 passes, but not without consequence. The pressure in the pocket was constant and despite their efforts, the Aztecs struggled to establish a running game that could keep the Toros' defense honest.

Not only did the Toros defense put up six points on the board, the special teams unit did, too.

Late in the 4th quarter, Corona Del Sol scored another touchdown to cut the lead to 10, but with under five minutes left on the clock, they were running out of time and out of possessions.

Recovering an onside kick was a necessity if the Toros were going to make a late comeback. But a bad bounce on the onside kick was all Alex Talamantes needed. Talamantes scooped up the ball near midfield and burst through the line for a touchdown.

Fell could finally let win number 201 sink in. The thrill of victory will energize his locker room for one more weekend as they prepare to face Pinnacle High School next week.

“I’ve been around a long time. It kind of tells you you’re getting old when you win that many games,” Fell said, reflecting on his 30-plus years of coaching. “But this was the one we needed. 201 is the best one.”