Desert Pines had its back up against the wall Friday night at Legacy, trailing by eight points in the fourth quarter.
Knowing they can’t afford a second Northeast League loss if the Jaguars have sights on a division crown, something had to give.
Finally, the Desert Pines rushing attack took shape.
After rushing for minus-3 yards in the first two quarters, the Jaguars came to life in the final period with two scores in a 1:52 span and rallied for a 15-8 road victory.
Desert Pines finished with 160 rushing yards.
“We had to simplify things as the game went along,” Desert Pines coach Tico Rodriguez said. “Eventually, we got things going, but boy this was a hard-fought game. Hey, Legacy is a good football team, and we are certainly rooting for them now.”
Desert Pines (5-2, 2-1 Northeast) took the first lead of the night on Cameron Wiley’s 28-yard run with 10 minutes left.
Still, Legacy had a final chance with 1:32 left. The Longhorns got a huge break when Evan Olaes was intercepted by Desert Pines’ Darius Stewart for the second time in the game, but Stewart fumbled trying to lateral to a teammate, and Legacy’s Aaron Holloway recovered at the Jaguars’ 28-yard line.
But Olaes was sacked once and threw three straight incompletions to end the game.
“We needed this win to keep pace,” said Rodriguez, whose team had just 62 yards of offense at the half. “Overcoming this type of adversity should help us down the stretch.”
Legacy (3-5, 2-1) got on the board first in the second quarter on an Amorey Foster 7-yard run for 6-0 lead. The Longhorn defense added points early in the third period, as the Longhorns tackled Wiley in the end zone for a safety, and an 8-0 cushion.
The Jaguars took advantage of the first Stewart interception by marching 65 yards in nine plays, with Jamel Brown scoring from the 1-yard line. Quarterback Tyler Williamson hit Tommie Taylor for the two-point conversion, and the game was knotted at 8-8.
After the Longhorns went three-and-out, it took the Jaguars two plays to break the tie.
Devin McGee’s 41-yard run set up Wiley’s go-ahead score, and Desert Pines escaped with the victory.
Brown led the Jaguars with 70 yards on 13 carries, and Wiley added 49 yards on 13 trips, and McGee 43 yards on nine tries.
Jerry Martin led all rushers with 82 yards on 15 carries for Legacy, followed by Foster with 41 yards on 12 carries.