T-Birds rally to 53-40 win against New Mexico for homecoming

By: Warren Younger

2014 Homecoming for the T-birds was bound to be an exciting event.

Even though the festivities were canceled due to the weather the T-birds football team delivered enough excitement to make up for it.

Down by two touchdowns in the 4th quarter, MCC rallied to beat New Mexico Military (NMMI) 53-40 on homecoming night.

In the first half of the game, MCC dominated both sides of the ball and took an early 20-6 lead midway through the second quarter.

That was when NMMI made its comeback with two touchdowns on back-to-back drives to even the score with two minutes left in the half.

However, this shootout was just getting started.

Right before halftime Austin Apodaca threw a 27 yard strike to wide receiver Garrete Craig to give MCC a 26-20 lead at the Half.

Going right back at in the third, the shootout continued as NMMI re-tied the game with a 22 yard run by running back Kendrick Igbinoba to put the score at 26-26.

MCC failed to score on the next drive and NMMI took advantage of it by putting up another touchdown to give NMMI a 33-26 lead heading into the 4th quarter.

The first score of the games final quarter was a big blow to MCC as NMMI picked up a fumble and returned it 70 yards for a touchdown to give NMMI a 40-26 lead.

That would be the last time NMMI would score as MCC scored 27 points in the remaining 10 and a half minutes.

Austin Apodaca went off for three touchdowns in the games final quarter giving MCC a 53-40 victory.

The win puts MCC at a 3-3 record with two games left in the season.

The loss puts NMMI at 2-4.

Austin Apodaca ended the game with a school record 6 touchdowns and 313 yards passing.

Apodaca also won player of the week honors from the NJCCA.

Apodaca had some thoughts after the game.

“When we were down by 14 in the 4th quarter, we knew we could only control what we could control and that was to score when we got the ball back,” Apodaca said. “The whole team knew we were still in the game and we just needed to keep playing until the clock hit zero.”

The defense wasn’t as stellar in this game but Apodaca said they really stepped up in the 4th quarter.

“The defense stepping up and getting stops in clutch times is a huge help to our offense and our whole team in general, it really helps us go out and drive down the field with confidence,” Apodaca said.

Apodaca’s 6 touchdowns went to four different receivers. When asked what it was like to have such a great receiving core he responded by saying “they are a great group of guys”.

“The receivers are great to work with, they come to practice every day trying to get better and that is huge,” Apodaca said. “We feel like the chemistry between me and the receivers is getting much better, and they have been playing really well.”

The weather leading up to the game was bad enough to cancel the homecoming festivities and almost canceled the game until 10 minutes before. When asked if Apodaca thought the weather played a part in the game he responded realistically.

“The weather was pretty sloppy before the game, and during also, but we just knew that it was going to take a little bit extra focus to get the job done. We didn’t worry about what we couldn’t control; just went out there and played our game,” Apodaca said.

MCC looks to continue its road to the playoffs as they wrap up the season against Arizona Western and Scottsdale in the next couple weeks.

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These are archived stories from Mesa Legend editions before Fall 2018. See article for corresponding author.

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