WELLS – Heavy rain that delayed the kickoff by 20 minutes short-circuited components of the Wells High scoreboard Friday night, rendering it inoperable for the second half of the football game against visiting Spruce Mountain.
The home team nearly met a similar fate.
Instead, Jake Moody jolted the Warriors back to life with an 18-yard touchdown reception with 1:05 remaining to cap a 20-15 Western Class B victory in a game Wells led by two touchdowns at halftime.
“I was supposed to be running an out route and (Coach Tim Roche) checked to a fade at the last minute,” Moody said of his game-winning catch. “The quarterback (Nate Booth) didn’t even know. He just saw me open, made a great read and threw a heck of a ball.”
Booth’s ball sailed just over the outstretched fingers of a Spruce Mountain defensive back. Moody then grabbed a deflected pass for the 2-point conversion.
Wells (2-0) and Spruce Mountain (1-1) both won their openers by wide margins. The Warriors appeared to have Friday’s game in hand after building a 12-0 halftime lead.
A fourth-down pass from Booth to Moody good for a 30-yard touchdown capped the initial Wells possession, a drive of 50 yards set up by the first of 17 combined fumbles, six resulting in turnovers.
The steady rain finally ended as the first quarter drew to a close.
The Phoenix fell behind 12-0 in the second after Moody returned a punt deep into Spruce Mountain territory, setting up a 2-yard scoring run by Chris Carney, who finished with 106 yards rushing to complement Moody’s 124 yards.
“When it was 12-0 we could have packed it in,” said Spruce Mountain Coach Walter Polky, whose third-year program lost its previous two Wells games by a combined score of 98-6. “But we had some leadership come out and the kids responded to it.”
Momentum turned on a holding penalty that negated a 5-yard touchdown run by Moody that would have put Wells ahead 18-0 early in the third quarter. Instead, Matt Vigue sacked Booth on fourth down and Spruce Mountain took over at its 25.
On the next play, quarterback Peter Theriault, who had been pitching on the option throughout the first half, faked the toss, cut through a big hole, picked up two downfield blocks and ran 75 yards for a touchdown. Colin Sevigney intercepted the conversion attempt to leave it at 12-6.
An inspired Phoenix defense led by linebacker Tristan Castonguay bottled up Wells on consecutive possessions, and Vigue returned a punt 51 yards for a touchdown in the final minute of the third quarter. Theriault added the point-after kick to give Spruce Mountain a 13-12 lead entering the fourth.
The Phoenix nearly added another touchdown, driving inside the Wells 5 before settling for a 20-yard field-goal attempt. Before the attempt, Wells jumped offside, one of the 14 penalties resulting in 96 yards, and Polky decided to go for the touchdown from the 2.
Vigue was stopped inches from the goal line, setting off a Wells celebration lasting only until the next play, when Carney was tackled in the end zone for a safety that made it 15-12.
Later, a poor punt snap prevented Vigue from getting off a kick, giving Wells possession at the Spruce Mountain 20. A false start squandered the chance and allowed Spruce Mountain, with help from a roughing penalty on Wells, to run the clock under two minutes before punting.
Carney returned the punt 28 yards to the Spruce Mountain 18, setting up the winning touchdown pass from Booth to Moody. Two long passes then brought the Phoenix to the Wells 18 before Theriault’s final pass fell incomplete.
“We had them on the ropes and they did what championship teams do,” Polky said. “They made great plays at the end.”
Glenn Jordan can be contacted at 791-6425 or at: