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August 25, 2019

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Last-minute touchdown springs Chaparral to win

Canyon Springs at Chaparral

Amanda Finnegan

Chaparral players celebrate after their 23-20 win over Canyon Springs on Friday night.

Canyon Springs at Chaparral

Chaparral sets up for an offensive play against Canyon Springs on Friday night. Launch slideshow »

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With 44 seconds remaining Friday night at Chaparral High, the Cowboys stared at a 20-16 deficit and were faced with a fourth-and-1 play on the Canyon Springs 4-yard line.

Coach Fernando Carmona called a timeout, and reserve quarterback Jermal Turner wasn’t shy. He wanted the ball.

“He really wanted it,” Carmona said. “He wanted a chance to get it in.”

Moments later, Turner ran a bootleg around his right side and into the end zone for a touchdown that clinched a 23-20 victory for the Cowboys.

Pioneers defenders Timmarie Randolph and Marquise Turner smacked Jermal Turner as he crossed the goal line, but that didn’t affect his elation over Chaparral’s first victory over fifth-year Canyon Springs.

“I saw a big opening,” Turner said. “I knew I had to score. Fourth-and-1. I had to do something with it. I saw daylight, the end zone, and I went for it. It feels good. Yes, sir.”

The game featured three lead changes in the fourth quarter and four 100-yard rushers, and it came down to Turner’s bold running and Chaparral cornerback Malcolm McMurray’s interception with 17 seconds left.

The Cowboys overcame 11 penalties for 106 yards.

“We played sloppy football throughout the game,” Carmona said. “But at the end we felt hungrier.”

Chaparral (2-2) went up 16-12 early in the fourth quarter on a 3-yard touchdown run by 5-foot-9 senior Isaiah Washington, who also scored in the first quarter and finished with 127 yards.

Canyon Springs (0-3) answered that with a 73-yard drive that was helped by a pair of 15-yard Chaparral penalties.

Paul “Boogie” Woodward, a junior, capped it with a nifty 26-yard touchdown run around his left side that gave the Pioneers a 20-16 edge with 8:08 left.

“My blocks came through for me,” Woodward said. “I went where it was open, and it was wide open. We did the best we could. Unfortunately, they got us in the end.

“We’re 0-3, but we can’t look back on the past. Just have to keep going.”

Woodward had 106 yards on nine rushes, and teammate Devin Rimmey, a junior, ran 16 times for 125 yards.

The Cowboys started their game-deciding drive on their own 34 with 3:44 left, and Turner squeezed through the middle for six yards on the first play.

On a third-and-4 at the Pioneers’ 45, 5-11 senior running back Pierre Jones, celebrating his 18th birthday, ran for 20 yards to start making the Canyon Springs sideline nervous.

Jones finished with 125 yards on 15 runs.

On the only other third-down play of the drive, Turner ran the bootleg around his right side for four yards to get to the 4 and set up his game winner -- the same bootleg around the same side.

Despite Turner’s heroics, Carmona said junior quarterback Breonta Griffin, who didn't play in the second half after suffering a stinger in his throwing arm, will continue to be the starter.

“Breonta had a hard time gripping the ball, but he’ll be there next week,” Carmona said. “He’s still our man. We’ll go with him, but Jermal did a helluva job.”

Soon after the game, Canyon Springs coach Chris Littmann told his players that they played well.

“But think how we would have played if we had practiced like champions all week,” he said.

Littmann elaborated.

“You can’t just flip a switch on Friday night and expect it to come together,” he said. “We were a little disappointed in the preparation, but I’ll take the blame for that as head coach.”

Carmona appeared exhausted as he beamed about the victory while standing at an entrance to the Chaparral basketball court.

He graduated from the school in 1981.

“It’s a good day for Chaparral,” Carmona said. “Overall, it’s a great day. I’m a blessed man. I have a great family, have a lot of great things and all I want is for Chaparral football to win and get better.

“I have a lot of pride and history in this school, and I hope to be here a long time.”

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