For over 40 minutes of play, Frontier and Stockdale played a football game that was mostly void of drama.
The final 10 or so more than made up for any previous lack of excitement.
Israel Chaverria scored on a 1-yard quarterback sneak in overtime, Daniel Foster drilled home the extra point and Frontier overcame a wild, controversial Stockdale comeback to squeak out a 21-20 win in SWYL action Friday.
Following a Mustang touchdown, Chaverria looked to have scored on a designed run the previous play, but was ruled down at the 1. But on the next play, he made it official, plowing in behind the surge of his offensive line.
“It was just happiness," Chaverria said of his reaction to the play. "I just thanked my teammates for pushing me through the line, because I couldn’t have done it without them. It felt great.”
With under seven minutes to play, it didn't seem like the Titans would need such dramatics. Behind two Chaverria to Jayden Smith touchdown passes and a goal-line stand, Frontier held a 14-2 lead.
But an ill-advised pass by Travis Plugge, who shared snaps at quarterback, ended up in the hands of defender Darius Larsuel, who set up Stockdale deep in Titan territory.
The pick set up an 11-yard Jack Kaiser to Jeremiah Gradowitz touchdown. It wouldn't be the last time the pair connected in the quarter.
Following a turnover on downs, Stockdale worked its way into the red zone in the final seconds, following a 29-yard connection from Kaiser to Loren Johnson. With 10 seconds remaining, Kaiser hit Gradowitz from 5-yards out on a back shoulder pass to tie the game.
Though the ball appeared to pop out of Gradowitz's hands when he hit the ground, officials ruled he possessed it long enough to make the play count.
But while the offense worked to keep them alive, the Mustangs special teams unit couldn't close the door.
Stockdale, who had a punt blocked to set up Frontier's first touchdown, couldn't convert its first PAT try on a bad snap, keeping the deficit at 14-8. Following the second touchdown, Kaiser, also the team's kicker, pushed the PAT left, sending the game to overtime.
The quarterback, who threw for 131 yards in the second half, gave his team the lead again on the first series of OT, first with a clutch completion on third down, then with his legs on a 7-yard touchdown run.
Following the kicking struggles, Mustangs coach Brett Shelton elected to go for two, but was denied when Frontier defensive back Jaden Perez intercepted a fade into the end zone.
While all this was going on, Titan kicker Foster stood on the sideline watching. When he was called on to end the game, he admitted to being nervous.
“I tried to stay self-confident, try to zone out all the noise, but my heart was pounding," he said.
Luckily for him, "it was a good snap, good kick and it went right through,” sending his elated teammates to mob him on the sideline.
The win was a nice bounceback for the Titans, who looked sluggish in back-to-back losses to Liberty and Bakersfield, which pushed them back to .500 at 2-2 in the SWYL.
“That was a fun game to be a part of. That’s why I coach high school football, to have those kind of games and that kind of excitement, intensity," Frontier coach Chris Bandy said. "Those kids rallied and played hard with great character.”
The Mustangs are now 2-2 in conference play. They entered the night with a slim chance to finish with a share of the SWYL title, but those dreams officially ended with Liberty's 31-0 win over Garces.
Frontier 21, Stockdale 20 (OT)
F 0 7 7 0 7 — 21
S 2 0 0 12 6 — 20
S - Tackle in end zone for a safety
F - Chaverria 1 run (Foster kick)
F - Smith 28 pass from Chaverria (Foster kick)
S - Gradowitz 11 pass from Kaiser (pass failed)
S - Gradowitz 5 pass from Kaiser (kick failed)
S - Kaiser 7 run (pass failed)
F - Chaverria 1 run (Foster kick)
RUSHING — F: Hernandez 9-19, Chaverria 10-6, Greer 4-7, Hudson 3-11, Mounmanivong 6-0, Plugge 1-(negative)5. S Hudson 7-21, Larsuel 13-63, Kaiser 5-4, Jones 2-8.
PASSING — F: Chaverria 8-15-112-0, Plugge 5-8-80-1. S Kaiser 17-28-166-1.
RECEIVING — F: Smith 6-105, Hudson 3-33, Hernandez 2-33, Hughes 1-4, Zepeda 1-17. S Gradowitz 9-82, Brown 1-7, Krumm 2-13, Johnson 6-58, Hudson 1-1.
RECORDS: F 5-4, 2-3. S 5-4, 2-2