Just when things seemed to be going against Canyon Springs in the fourth quarter on Friday, an inadvertent whistle, along with running back Martin Blake and quarterback Xavier DeLong, stepped up to save the day.
Blake finished with 135 yards and a touchdown, and DeLong threw three TD passes as the Pioneers beat host Mojave 44-28.
The Pioneers (4-3, 3-0 Northeast), who led 30-7 at half, were holding a 30-22 lead after two Mojave scores in the second half.
Blake had helped lead a good drive Mojave territory, but a fumble was seemingly recovered by the Rattlers inside their own 20 and players celebrated their new life. However, the officials conferred and ruled there had been an inadvertent whistle on the play and gave the ball back to Canyon Springs.
Blake then scored on a 21-yard run on the next play to make it 37-22. DeLong would score on a 5-yard run on the ensuing drive, securing the win for Canyon Springs.
The No. 8 Pioneers started the game hot, with DeLong hitting Shakureon Dukes with touchdown passes on the first two drives.
Gianni Blackwell then scored on a 15-yard run with 8:14 to go in the second quarter to push the lead to 21-0.
K’maurian Philogene scored on a 1-yard run with 5:13 to go in the second quarter to put the Rattlers on the board, before the Pioneers added a safety and DeLong hit Javeion Davison with a 7-yard scoring pass with 50 seconds left in the half.
De’vann Underwood carried the load for Mojave (3-5, 1-2) in the second half, scoring on runs of 1 and 2 yards to trim the lead to 30-22. Underwood added a 2-yard TD run with 11 seconds to play.
Underwood had 55 yards on 18 carries.