BOVINA — Powerful Nazareth looked like it finally met its match with Bovina on Friday night.
But the host Mustangs — despite carving out a 20-point lead heading into the fourth quarter — will have to wait another day again as Naz stormed from behind to win the District 3-1A opener for both teams 43-42.
With 1:47 left in the game, after the Swifts scored on a 1-yard run by Beau Bradley, Nazareth converted a game-winning two-point conversion on a run to the left side by senior quarterback Sage Black.
Naz coach Coby Emery had already decided if given the chance to win or tie, he’d try to come out victorious with a 2-point attempt.
“It was decided with about four minutes left in the game,” Emery said. “I already knew what play was coming and everything.”
For a long time, it looked like Bovina (4-2, 0-1) would never come close to giving the Swifts a chance. After falling behind 14-0 to start the game, the Mustangs then went on a 34-point scoring streak lasting the entire second and third quarters of the contest.
When senior Frankie Guevara scored on a 5-yard run with 54 seconds left in the third period, Bovina had a 34-14 lead.
It didn’t take long, though, for Nazareth (2-4, 1-0) to show there was still life in the visitors. It took all of 58 seconds for the Swifts to drive 85 yards and score on an 18-yard pass from Black to Ryan Birkenfeld.
With 5:24 remaining Black hit paydirt on a 12-yard run, making the score 34-28. That’s when Bovina quarterback Dorian Vela appeared to squash any further comeback attempts, racing 79 yards for a touchdown with 5:04 left on the clock — giving the Mustangs a 42-28 advantage.
Again, it took less than a minute for Nazareth to respond.
Black scored on a 1-yard run to make the score 42-35. The Swifts’ last drive began with 2:52 left on the clock from their own 39.
In each of the two final drives of the night for Nazareth, Bovina contributed with ill-timed, 15-yard personal foul penalties.
“Blown coverage here, bad mistakes there, but you can’t take anything away from them,” Bovina coach Hector Guevara said. “They’ve been district champs the last few years, so we expect them to come back.
“It happens. Sometimes you play too hard and you fall apart.”
The Swifts, meantime, were glad to escape.
“We’ve been on a rollercoaster this year,” Emery said. “We talked all week about how sometimes you have to pull it out of your socks — and that’s what we did.”