Michael Jones scored on a 9-yard pass from Kameron Williams with 2:56 remaining to lift Saginaw to a 21-20 victory against rival Saginaw Boswell on Friday night at Rough Rider Stadium.
The Rough Riders (5-1, 3-1 in District 3-5A Division 1) beat Boswell in the Battle for the Wagon Wheel for the first time since 2007. It was only the program’s second victory against the Pioneers (2-3, 2-1) in 14 tries.
A back-and-forth second half swung in Boswell’s favor with 7:45 remaining when Cody Mayberry sprinted 16 yards for the go-ahead touchdown and then added a two-point conversion run. That put Boswell ahead 20-14.
But Saginaw had an answer. The Rough Riders went 69 yards in 15 plays, including a 9-yard run by Williams on third-and-6 at the 26. Williams rushed for 196 yards and passed for 141 and a score.
The winning points came on third-and-2 at the 9. Williams threw a bullet to Jones over the middle, who caught the pass in stride inside the five and walked in.
The extra-point by kicker Cody Grubbs gave the Rough Riders the 1-point advantage. But it was up the defense to make the lead stick.
Boswell started at its own 17 and reached its 40. But the Pioneers’ run on fourth-and-1 was stuffed with 39 seconds remaining, setting off a celebration on the Saginaw sideline.
Saginaw led 7-6 at intermission and added to the lead on a 2-yard run by Jones midway through the third quarter.
As happened often on the night, Boswell would respond. The first play of the ensuing Pioneer series was a 70-yard heave from Brayden Thomas to a wide-open Zeke McCray. Boswell cut the Saginaw lead to 14-12 at that point.
That’s where it remained until McCray’s 16-yard TD run in the fourth quarter.
Both halves ended in wild fashion. The second quarter featured a wild final 30 seconds that included turnovers by both teams and a penalty with no time on the clock that put Boswell in position to potentially nudge ahead.
First, a Pioneers pass was picked off at the Saginaw 26 with 26 seconds remaining in the second quarter. But Saginaw turned around and gave the ball back to Boswell. The Rough Riders fumbled at the Pioneers 36, giving Boswell 10 seconds to get points.
Saginaw forced an incompletion on first down. Then on second down, the Saginaw defense was flagged for pass interference with 0:00 on the clock.
Boswell used the untimed down to attempt a 38-yard field goal, but the kick sailed wide right.
Pioneers kicker Oscar Ronquillo made his two other first half field goal tries, from 27 and 37 yards out.
Saginaw got on the board early in the second quarter on a 2-yard plunge by running back Desmond Lewis. Williams rushed three times for 62 yards on the 69-yard scoring drive, including a 24-yard run on third-and-16 from the Rough Riders 25.