The Mesa Thunderbirds came out looking flat in the first quarter of their home opener against the Scottsdale Artichokes on Sept. 4.The Chokes confused the Mesa secondary unit with a wide array of passing plays. Striking quickly and scoring through the air on both of their first two drives, en route to a 22-0 first quarter.
The T-bird offense came in cold stalling out on all of their first quarter drives, and allowed their quarterback to be sacked in their own end zone for a safety.
Bad field position, poor blocking, and an inept kicker was the story of the first quarter for the Thunderbirds.
After the lack luster first quarter the Mesa defense came out fired up and delivering punishment, led by sophomore linebacker Aisea Vave, and his 3.5 total sacks.
The T-birds held the Chokes to only three second quarter points.
The offense taking a cue from the defense also came out reinvigorated, and sophomore wide receiver Maurice Trotter burned the Artichoke defense for an 84-yard touchdown reception, and a 75-yard touchdown reception, to get the half time score down to a manageable 25-13.
During the half time break a drunken MCC fan became violent and assaulted up to five fans on the opposing sideline, including a cameraman.
The first fan hit was teenager Andrew Perez who stated, “He just started swinging man.”
On his way toward the sideline for the second half, Mesa Head Coach Denver Latimore stated, “we didn’t play well, we didn’t compete, we will compete in the second half.”
After that Mesa defense forced a three and out on SCC’s opening drive. The T-birds made a quarterback change from Bryan Libby to Gavin Mack, the younger brother of Scottsdale quarterback Tyler Mack.
Mack went straight to work, hurling a huge pass to Maurice Trotter, and capping off the drive with a touchdown pass to fiery wide receiver Michael Clore.
The Thunderbird defense came up with some huge second half plays, including a 24-yard interception by Tyrell “Hollywood” Pearson. That set the T-birds up for a touchdown pass from Mack to Travis Bromley.
On Mesa’s next drive Mack was knocked out of the game. He showed signs of concussion after suffering a big hit, and starter quarterback Libby re-entered the game.
Libby connected on a couple of passes before fumbling to set Scottsdale up for their game sealing touchdown drive that put the birds down for a final score of 38-27.
The Thunderbirds followed the opener with another loss to Glendale on Sept. 11.
Mesa was outscored 38-6 in the game.