RENO — As The Meadows quarterback Garrett Gosse brought his team to the line of scrimmage at the Battle Mountain 31-yard line with about seven minutes to play in Saturday’s Class 2A state championship game, things had just gone from bad to worse for the Mustangs.
Gosse turned that around with one throw.
Gosse’s 31-yard touchdown pass to Max Newman with 6:35 left lifted The Meadows (11-1) to a 27-24 victory over Battle Mountain (8-4) at Damonte Ranch High School, the Mustangs’ second straight state title.
“I knew if I threw it up, he was going to make a play,” Gosse said. “That’s what he did. He went up there and got it and made the play.”
Newman caught the ball along the sideline at about the 5-yard line as the Battle Mountain defender fell to the turf, then spun into the end zone.
“We were running three deep and sending the safeties instead of the corners deep,” Battle Mountain coach Tim Knight said. “We jammed him on the line, and he still got behind us.”
Said The Meadows coach Frank DeSantis: “We just tried one of our routes where we send three guys deep, and the quarterback made a great read and got the ball to him, luckily enough. But the real big play was the play before.”
The Meadows had gone from second-and-goal at the 1 to third-and-goal at the 31 after a holding penalty and a fumble by Gosse that guard Andrew Duddlesten recovered, giving The Meadows another chance that Gosse took advantage of.
“That’s hustle and determination, and that’s what senior leadership is,” DeSantis said.
Battle Mountain had taken a 24-20 lead with 17 unanswered points after trailing 20-7 at halftime.
“We went into halftime feeling good but came out and they really put it to us,” Gosse said. “Great teams find a way to respond, and I think we definitely responded. That’s what state championship teams need to do.”
The Meadows survived despite a huge effort from Battle Mountain’s Mike Lake, who rushed for 296 yards and three touchdowns and caught two passes for 49 yards.
Lake scored on 14- and 62-yard runs on Battle Mountain’s first two possession of the third quarter to give the Longhorns a 21-20 lead with 7:40 left in the quarter.
Ryan Salazar’s 22-yard field goal with 8:43 to play made the score 24-20.
“Sometimes when it gets going like that, there’s nothing you can do,” DeSantis said. “You’ve just got to hold on and keep fighting through it.”
The Longhorns drove to The Meadows’ 32, but the Mustangs stopped Justin Gray for no gain on fourth-and-three.
DeSantis, who led The Meadows to five consecutive state championships from 1997 to 2001, has coached the school to consecutive state titles again.
“When I was in elementary school, I used to watch all the games, and last year I wasn’t that big of a part of it,” Gosse said. “It feels great to get all these seniors out here on a good note.”