Mavs fade in finale
Adams wins on FG at 00:05
Colorado Mesa University came within seconds of capping off its first winning football season in five years.
Instead, Adams State kicked a 39-yard field goal with five seconds left to defeat the Mavericks 19-17 in each team’s season finale on Saturday afternoon at Stocker Stadium.
“It hurts to lose,” CMU senior Jake Edmiston said. “I hate losing, but more than anything I’m proud of where this team is headed. If they buy in, it’s going to be unbelievable. I’m sad we couldn’t send all the seniors out on a win and carry over the momentum. They can be great. We just didn’t make the plays.”
Edmiston led Mesa with 22 tackles and finished the season with 177, four shy of tying the single-season school record. He had 411 career tackles, 11 shy of the individual career record.
The Mavericks (5-6, 4-5 RMAC) rallied to take a 17-16 lead with 2:25 left when senior quarterback Jason Haferman completed a 32-yard pass to Ian Juede for a touchdown, but Adams State responded with a 13-play, 70-yard drive to set up Logan Beck’s game-winning field goal. Beck missed two field goals earlier in the game, including a 39-yard attempt in the third quarter.
“There were plays on that drive I should’ve made,” Edmiston said, shedding tears. “I couldn’t stop them. That’s the way it goes I guess, but I’m so proud of my defense. They never quit.”
Mesa allowed 435 yards in total offense, but limited the Grizzlies to one touchdown and one field goal in the red zone.
The Mavericks came out ready to put last week’s loss at Western State behind them and finish the season with a victory.
Haferman, who made his second start of the season, led Mesa on a 7-play, 73-yard scoring drive on its opening possession. He threw a 19-yard touchdown pass to Austin Rodriguez for a 7-0 lead.
Andrew Hurley intercepted an Adams State pass in the first quarter to set up Eli Williams’ 31-yard field goal for a 10-0 lead.
Hurley’s interception was the Mavericks’ 23rd this season, tying a single-season school record.
“That’s a play we work on in practice all the time,” Hurley said. “I read the quarterback, got underneath the tight end and made the play.”
Adams State (7-4, 5-4 RMAC) turned the game into a field position battle and capitalized with Justin Kauffman’s 40-yard touchdown to cut Mesa’s lead to 10-7.
The Grizzlies had a chance to tie it with a 52-yard field goal, but it was well short.
After three consecutive possessions killed by penalties, the Mavericks had an opportunity to add to its lead on the final play of the first half, but Williams’ 46-yard field goal was blocked. Mesa had eight penalties for 53 yards in the game.
“We had several penalties especially in that second quarter,” CMU coach Russ Martin said. “We’ll go back and look at the tape, but a couple of them were pretty questionable from our standpoint.
“We need to take care of our own business. We had two or three big plays called back that totally changed the field position. The penalties hurt us and that’s something we can’t have.”
The third quarter was filled with turnovers, penalties and miscues.
Adams State had a personal foul penalty that negated a field goal and lost two fumbles — one in the end zone and another at the Mesa 1.
The Mavs had a dropped pass on a fourth-down attempt and a fumble in their own territory.
Mesa started to turn the field position in its favor in the fourth quarter when Cimolino broke off a 48-yard run into Adams State territory.
Cimolino rushed for 150 yards on 28 carries to top the 1,000-yard mark for a second consecutive season. He finished with 1,136.
Mesa turned the ball over on downs when the back judge ruled Steven Lindquist’s catch on fourth down incomplete.
“I felt we had that catch down there,” Martin said. “All of a sudden we’re in the red zone with the lead and have a chance to make it more than a one-touchdown game. I don’t know. I thought it was a catch, but they said, ‘No.’
“If that’s a two-possession game instead of a one-possession game, that totally changes the picture the whole way through.”
The Grizzlies hit a 44-yard field goal to tie the game.
Adams State’s defense forced a second Mesa turnover on the next possession with an interception. Five plays later, Michael Carl scored on a 3-yard run for a 16-10 lead, but a bad snap on the point-after gave the Mavs a break.
They responded with Haferman’s touchdown pass to Juede with 2:25 left for a 17-16 lead. Juede had six catches for 109 yards.
“We kept executing,” Cimolino said. “We didn’t stop believing. Honestly, all game we were doing great things on offense, but we were hurting ourselves with penalties. In the end, the O-line stepped up and blocked phenomenally. They gave our quarterbacks good time and Jason made some great throws.”