Desert Oasis kept finding ways to come back with a playoff berth on the line Friday at Silverado,
After falling behind 22-7, the Diamondbacks scored 17 straight points to take the lead.
Then when Skyhawks bounced back themselves to move back in front, the Diamondbacks rallied one more time.
Colton Zobrist tossed a 51-yard touchdown pass to Laakea Mulivai with 3 minutes, 55 seconds remaining to give the Desert Oasis a 30-28 victory over the Silverado — and to clinch fourth-place in the Southwest Division and a spot in the Desert Region playoffs.
The Diamondbacks will travel to Liberty for a first-round playoff game next Friday.
Zobrist, who hit Mulivai in the middle of the field at the 10-yard line with a pass on the go-ahead score, said his team was confident it would succeed on the game-winning play.
“We felt like we could trust our receiver and our O-line, and we took a shot and it worked out,” said Zobrist, who finished with 229 passing yards. “Everyone was working hard and we just knew we could do it.”
Desert Oasis (6-4, 2-4 Southwest) had to hold off a final Skyhawks drive, but it forced a fumble at midfield and recovered with just over a minute left to seal the victory.
The Diamondback defense had also come up with a key stop to set up the game-winning score as well.
Facing a fourth down at midfield and nursing a 4-point lead, Silverado opted for a run play to try to run out the clock.
But Desert Oasis held Breven Palpallatoc to a 1-yard run, and the Diamondbacks took over on downs with 5:26 remaining. Desert Oasis scored what the game-winning touchdown three plays later.
All the more impressive after after a 22-10 halftime deficit.
“In the locker room (at halftime), we weren’t like mad or anything. We were just calm,” said running back Christian Vaughn, who had 195 yards rushing and two touchdowns on 35 carries for the Diamondbacks. “We were just like ‘Let’s just go out there and play football.’”
“I think our seniors and captains really stepped up,” Zobrist added. “We came out of the locker room (in the second half) with a high tempo. We all knew we could beat this team. They are very physical and very talented, but we all just had the heart to pull it out.”