Cimarron-Memorial defensive lineman Irmir Mitchell was fatigued after a 21-17 road victory over Bonanza on Thursday night, partially from the game itself. And then from making the game-saving tackle in the final seconds.
And, finally, from being the center of attention in the celebration that followed.
Mitchell stuffed Bonanza quarterback Kyle Allison’s sneak attempt at the 1-yard line on the final play from scrimmage to clinch Cimarron’s first league victory this season.
The jubilant Spartans (3-6, 1-4 Northwest League) mobbed him, storming the field as time expired.
“I just want to make a play every down. That’s all I want to do,” Mitchell said. “Even if it’s the end of the season, I just keep going to the end.”
The Bengals (2-6, 0-4) forced four turnovers en route to a 17-14 halftime lead. Bengals linebacker Justin Bacon returned a fumble 99 yards for a touchdown and defensive lineman Leatuvaloalii Tulimasealii rushed for a 34-yard touchdown from the running back position.
But the Spartans responded with defense and patience. Star running back Jordan Norwood rattled off several long runs, finally breaking through for a touchdown from 5 yards out three minutes into the fourth quarter.
He finished with 206 yards on 31 carries to retake the Southern Nevada lead in rushing from Arbor View’s Kyle Graham.
“At halftime, we we’re talking about how the line had to push. I was telling them, ‘No it’s on me, I’ve got to find the holes,’” Norwood said. “Really, it’s all on them. All on the line. Not on Norwood. I can’t do it without them.”
Bonanza relied on its running game on its final drive, and converted a pair of fourth downs in the process. Allison nearly scored on a designed quarterback run, but was tackled just short of the goal line with 10 seconds left.
Spartans coach Kory Walker said he expected the Bengals to pass to ensure one more play.
“We called the right call … guys executed. Clock ran out,” Walker said. “The game was there for us to steal … and we got the win.”