GILBERT – When the 1994 football season started, many thought Flowing Wells High School would be the top Class 4A team in Tucson.
Three months and 12 games later, the season is over for Flowing Wells. But the Caballeros (10-2) just missed proving they were the top 4A team in the state.
Flowing Wells lost last night on a last-second field goal to No. 1 and undefeated Gilbert Highland (12-0), 31-28, in the Class 4A state playoff quarterfinals at Gilbert High School.
“I really thought we would go all the way,’ Flowing Wells head coach John Kashner said. “We didn’t think he could make the kick, we were looking for a fake.’
Highland won on the 41-yard field goal by 201-pound senior offensive tackle Joel Helmhout.
The second and fourth quarters proved to be crucial for the Caballeros.
In the second quarter, Flowing Wells turned the ball over three times. One fumble came on a Highland punt, giving the Hawks a first-down in Flowing Wells territory with about a minute left in the half. Highland converted the turnover for a touchdown two plays later. The score gave Highland a 21-14 halftime lead.
After a scoreless third quarter, Flowing Wells opened the final period with a 19-play, 70-yard drive. On the 17th play of the drive, the Caballeros faced a fourth and 4 at the Highland. Flowing Wells went for it and got the first down on run up the middle by senior tailback Kevin Coman.
Coman broke through the hole getting the first-down and an extra 20 yards down to the 5-inch line. Two plays later, Flowing Wells tied the game at 21.
Coman finished the game with 115 yards on 22 carries.
Coman’s running mate, senior Otis Sherr, was lost for the game in the first quarter with a severely sprained left ankle.
“It was a real big loss,’ Kashner said. “It hurt us because it changed our attack. They knew it was going to Coman.’
After the game-tying drive, things went bad for Flowing Wells. It was penalized four times for 55 yards.
A pass interference call on an uncatchable ball turned an incomplete pass into a 15-yard gain. On the next play, Flowing Wells stopped Highland for a loss. But it was penalized again, this time for unnecessary roughness.
That penalty came on a crucial fourth and 6 from the Flowing Wells’ 27. Another pass interference call gave Highland the ball at the FW 14.
“We were playing aggressively. It’s too bad we were penalized for it,’ Kashner said. “I don’t think officials should make calls that decide the game.’
After Flowing Wells senior quarterback Bryan Peel-Davis connected with Andrew Barney on a 25-yard TD pass, Highland came back and won the game on Helmhout’s kick.