Mullen makes final stand to preserve victory over Regis Jesuit – The Denver Post


Trailing since early in the first quarter, and by two touchdowns for most of the game, Regis Jesuit’s Nicco Marchiol launched a game-tying pass into the end zone that pin-balled before falling incomplete with 36 seconds left, preserving Mullen’s 28-21 victory on Friday night at Brother Bernard Kinneavy Field at de La Salle Stadium.

“Knock it down,” Mullen coach Vincent White said. “We got some good defensive backs back there. We’ll knock it down. They made the play.”

The Mullen defense surrendered back-to-back scoring drives late to bring the score within one touchdown, but stood tall in the clutch. Mullen’s defense swarmed Raiders senior running back Kiahn Martinez on a fourth-and-goal from the 2-yard line with 3:31 left in the game before its game-winning stand.

Sputtering in three-and-outs on their first handful of drives in the second half, the Mustangs turned to a heavy dose of Damien Cearns. The junior running back mixed large gains with bruising runs to put Mullen up 28-7 on his second short-yardage rushing touchdown just before the third quarter expired.

Regis Jesuit answered with a long march deep into Mustangs territory. Martinez turned a fourth and inches on the Mullen 14 into a rushing touchdown at 9:57 of the fourth quarter. On their ensuing drive, Marchiol scampered down to the Mullen 2-yard line and Martinez pulled the Raiders to 28-21 with an untouched rushing score.

Mullen senior quarterback Dominic DePizzol’s first big strike was to Isaac White for a 62-yard completion down to the Raiders’ 13. Following a roughing the passer penalty, Cearns plowed in from 5 yards to increase Mullen’s edge to 14-0 with 9:47 left in the first half. The Mustangs defense then forced a three-and-out but stalled on offense, sunk by a third-down fumble from DePizzol under heavy pressure and recovered by an offensive lineman at their own 44-yard line.

Martinez took the ensuing punt 20-some yards to midfield but the Raiders offense, under constant pressure from Mullen’s front seven, gained one yard on the drive.

Mullen then was pinned inside its own 10-yard line and uncorked a punt to its own 22 at 3:44 of the second quarter that gave Regis its best starting field position of the first half. The gift was given away when Martinez lost his fumble inside the 5-yard line. DePizzol returned the favor on the next play with an interception at the Mullen 34-yard line.

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