Courtesy of Adams State Athletics
- Adams State College junior Terjean Saffold scored four touchdowns while junior Dustin Bolt caught the eventual game-winner, his first of the season, on the first play of the second overtime as the Adams State College Grizzlies claimed a 41-34 thriller over Mesa State College, Saturday afternoon here at Rex Stadium.
Saffold, who ran for 114 yards and three scores, also caught a touchdown pass for the Grizzlies as they defeated the Mavericks for the fourth straight time at home. All of those wins, including the Grizzlies' last overtime contest, a 34-31 double-OT win over Mesa State in 2005, have come in fairly dramatic fashion.
The Grizzlies, who had lost each of their last two games of this season by a single touchdown, improved to 4-6 overall and to 3-5 in Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference play with the win which came in the final home game of the season and in the careers of nine seniors and graduating redshirt junior Bryce Buderus (Florence, Colo.), who were recognized before the game as part of Senior Day festivities.
The Mavericks, who will finish the road portion of their season with a 0-5 mark, dropped to 4-5 overall and are also 3-5 in RMAC play.
The Grizzlies, who went 3-2 at home this year, had a 20-3 lead 10 minutes plus into the second quarter but watched the Mavericks close to within 20-13 by halftime before a 46-yard Kris Means touchdown run on an 4th-and-1 and the ensuing point after tied the game at 20 in the third quarter.
However, Saffold, who now has 11 total touchdowns (8 rushing, 3 receiving) and four 100-yard rushing games this season, ran in for a 40-yard score just three plays later as the Grizzlies went back on top 27-20 with 5:49 left in the third quarter.
The Mavericks did not give up and eventually tied the game on a 14-yard Brennan Belloni touchdown reception with just 2:03 left in the fourth quarter.
The Grizzlies, who had earlier missed an extra point and a 26-yard field goal with 5:35 left in the game, did have an opportunity to win the game in regulation but watched David Van Voris' (Elizabeth, Colo.) 38-yard field goal be blocked with under 20 seconds left.
After a Mesa State kneel-down that sent the game into overtime, Maverick sophomore play-caller Michael Mankoff then connected with Belloni for a 20-yard touchdown pass on just the third play of the overtime as the Mavericks took their first lead, 34-27.
The Grizzlies would then take their turn at coming back and did just that four plays later when Saffold ran in for a 8-yard touchdown run to make the score 34-33. After taking a timeout to think about their options, the Grizzlies sent Bolt, who also doubles as ASC's punter, on to kick the nerve-racking extra point, which he drilled through the uprights.
Bolt, who was also the Grizzlies' kicker in 2008 before the emergence of Van Voris, last year's Colorado Special Teams Player of the Year, then wasted little time in putting the Grizzlies back on top in the second overtime when he caught a 25-yard strike from sophomore Trevor Eggleston (Tucson, Ariz.), who finished the day a solid 25 of 36 for 271 yards and two touchdowns.
Bolt again made the extra point before the Grizzly defense came on the field with a chance to win the game.
After giving up a disputed holding penalty and thus an automatic first down at their own 10-yard line, the Grizzlies stopped Will Halboth for a 1-yard run before a Mankoff pass to Belloni bounced off the receiver's leg on a 2nd-and-goal-to-go from the Grizzly-9.
Grizzly junior defensive end Cody Browne (Riverside, Calif.) then hit Mankoff as he threw a 3rd down pass that fell quietly to the ground before Mankoff's last-ditch attempt at tying the game with a pass to Robert Felberg sailed just out of bounds.
The Grizzlies, who have now won three straight and six of the last seven games against the Mavericks overall, also pulled out a 30-27 Senior Day win over them in 2008 when then seniors Stephen Baca and Tyree Walton connected for a 3-yard touchdown pass with just 10 seconds to go.
The Grizzlies also claimed a 21-13 home win over the Mavericks in 2006 after coming back from 13 points down while sealing the victory with a 64-yard Oscar Murray touchdown scamper with just over five minutes left in regulation.
In 2005, Wayne Durham hit a 35-yard field goal in double-overtime to lift the Grizzlies to a home win in what was their last overtime contest.
Early on, the Grizzlies would have never thought the game would go into overtime as they capped a 5-play, 68-yard opening drive with a 4-yard Chris Jamison (Mesa, Ariz.) touchdown run.
After forcing a punt, the Grizzlies then marched 63 yards on seven plays and went up 14-0 at the mid-way point of the first quarter on Saffold's first score, which came from 14 yards out.
The Mavericks then dented the scoreboard with a 43-yard Caleb Pavy field goal with 19 seconds left in the first quarter before the Grizzlies marched for a fine 10-play, 81-yard second-quarter drive, completed by a 6-yard touchdown pass from Eggleston to Saffold.
However, Van Voris missed the ensuing extra point, his first failed PAT conversion in 41 career tries.
Leading 20-3, the Grizzlies' momentum would be short lived as the Mavericks answered back with a 5-play, 45-yard drive of their own as Zach Adair bulled in from 1-yard out for the visitors' first touchdown.
Pavy then cut the gap even more with a 34-yard field goal with 11 seconds left in the first half.
Down by just a touchdown to begin the second half, the Mavericks marched into Grizzly territory on their opening possession of the third quarter but saw a 45-yard Pavy field goal be blocked by Grizzly senior Bryant Williams (Mesa, Ariz.).
However, the Mavericks would tie the game at 20 on their next possession when Means came out of a rugby-type scrum at midfield on a fourth down play, running in clear daylight for the score.
The Grizzlies then answered right back when Saffold escaped for his longest run of the day just three plays later putting the Grizzlies back on top 27-20.
The teams then traded punts before the Mavericks moved inside the Grizzly red-zone only to see sophomore safety Jeremiah Van Valkenburg (Highlands Ranch, Colo.) intercept a Mankoff pass in the back former of the end-zone with 11:24 to go in regulation.
The Grizzlies were apparently stopped twice on their next possession but used a roughing the kicker penalty to keep the drive alive before a 21-yard run by James Ackel (Riverside, Calif.) on a fake punt allowed the Grizzlies to keep what ended up being a 13-play, 71-yard drive that took 5:35 off the clock, very much alive.
However, the Grizzlies would not be able to cash the drive in for points as Van Voris' 26-yard field goal bounced off the cross bar giving the Mavericks life with 5:35 left.
They visitors took advantage, marching 80 yards on eight plays, while tying the game on Belloni's first touchdown reception.
The Grizzlies then took over with 1:55 left in regulation but were forced to punt just 31 seconds later.
Trying to complete the come-from-behind win, Mankoff then hit Ricky Noble for a 16-yard pass-and-catch on the ensuing drive before a hard shot by Ackel jarred the ball loose. Rocco DeLorenzo (Arvada, Colo.), who also had an impressive career-high 17 tackles, recovered the fumble at the Maverick-41, setting up the Grizzlies for a Van Voris' potential 38-yard game-winning field goal that was blocked by Nainoa Campbell, sending the game to overtime.
DeLorenzo was one of just four Grizzlies with double-figure tackles. Junior Will Naas (Tucson, Ariz.) and Van Valkenburg each tallied a career-high 13 while Ackel registered a dozen.
Meanwhile, Delton Prescott, Jr. (Phoenix, Ariz.) had eight catches for 86 yards to lead the Grizzly air attack. Bolt and Trevor Zott (Arvada, Colo.), one of the Grizzlies' seniors, also had five catches each while sophomore Scott Kellogg (Littleton, Colo.) had four catches for 71 yards and another 86 yards on kick and punt returns easily surpassing the 1,000 all-purpose yard mark for the season (1,086).
The Mavericks had two 100-yard receivers as Belloni caught six balls for 129 yards while Felberg had six receptions for 101 yards. Mankoff was 17 of 35 for 246 yards and two scores while Felberg completed 3 of 5 passes for 53 yards during a stint behind center.
The Mavericks ran 86 total plays, 21 more than the Grizzlies, on the afternoon and had a nearly 13-minute advantage in time of possession but only managed a slight 452-446 advantage in total offense as the Grizzlies averaged 6.0 yards per carry while racking up 175 net rushing yards and four ground touchdowns on just 29 totes.
The Grizzlies, who are now 4-0 all-time in overtime games, will attempt to cap the season on a winning note when they travel to face arch-rival Western State in Gunnison next Saturday at 1 p.m. The Grizzlies have won the Colorado Classic game in each of the last eight years.
The Mountaineers were drubbed, 37-3, by Colorado State-Pueblo on Saturday and are now 1-9 overall and 1-7 in RMAC play.