RUPERT – Century had certainly gotten stronger, but Minico handed the Diamondbacks another defeat at home.
The Spartans advanced to the 4A state semifinals with a 22-13 victory over the Diamondbacks Friday night, and it took a total team effort to do so.
Even though passing would be key, the Spartans opened up the game with strong rushing. After a pass from John Perrigot to Nicky Caldera put Minico in the red zone, Tim Miller barreled his way in to give the Spartans a 7-0 lead in the first quarter.
But fumbles, mishandles and penalties gave Century too many opportunities to keep the Spartans off the field in the first half. A Century punt early in the second quarter tipped off of Colter May in the red zone, and the Diamondbacks capitalized with an eight-yard touchdown pass to tie the game.
“Offensively, we made some mistakes,” Minico head coach Tim Perrigot said. “That’s going to happen, especially after a bye week.”
At half, coach Perrigot told his team, “If you want this, you’re going to have to go get it.”
The second half began with a bang from Minico as it drove down the field, carried by Larry Vega and May, to set up a 13-yard touchdown pass to May to go ahead 15-7.
“That drive right out of the half was big,” coach Perrigot said.
A few minutes later, John Perrigot would fly a ball to Caldera, who shook off his receiver and took the ball 68 yards to give Minico a 22-7 lead.
That came after a frustrating half for the wide receivers, according to senior receiver Regen Povlsen, who said they had to stick with it after missing a handful of long passes by a few inches.
“We have a philosophy in our program: ‘Next play, next play, next play,’” he said. “One play at a time. We stick to it and believe in it.”
May said the coaching staff is to thank for setting up many of the successful plays in the second half that helped move the ball better.
“Coach Perrigot and the coaches all had a great game plan going in,” he said. “They’re great at noticing what’s going on and making adjustments. That was all up to them.”
Century wouldn’t go away, though. In the fourth quarter, the Diamondbacks applied the pressure with a 30-yard touchdown strike to Coleton Adamson but failed on a fake attempt for the two-point conversion.
They’d come right back with a successful onside kick, but after a failed fourth down and 20 pass, the Spartans had the game in hand.
The win led the Spartans to only the second state semifinal game in school history, according to coach Perrigot. The fans rushed the field at the end of the game, with a firework display going off in the background.
A number of players fought off pain to play, as well. Povlsen suffered an MCL sprain only a few weeks ago, but he had every intention of being on the field Friday night.
“I just wanted to put the effort forth for my team,” he said. “It’s my senior year, my last games, and no way I was going to sit out on the sidelines.”
May said that this victory, the first Great Basin Conference playoff win since Jerome in 2013, was a long time coming for the Spartans.
“It’s something that Minico has been looking forward to for a while, and with the fans behind us and the love that we have for each other, it just worked out,” he said. “It’s just awesome.”
Perrigot, in his 22nd season as head coach, was as thrilled as anyone, but he said the Spartans won’t be settled with one victory.
“The drought is over,” he said. “I’m so happy for us and District 4. We’re going to celebrate, but now it’s time to go play another week.”
Minico hosts undefeated Skyview — the top-ranked 4A team in the state media poll — this coming Friday at 7 p.m.
Minico 22, Century 13
Century 0 7 0 6 — 13
Minico 7 0 15 0 — 22
M – Tim Miller 3-yard rush (kick good) 5:05
C – Titan Fleischmann 8-yard pass from Nathan Manning (kick good) 8:35
M – Colter May 13-yard pass from Perrigot (2-pt good) 10:27
M – Nicky Caldera 68-yard pass from Perrigot (kick good) 7:17
C – Coleton Adamson 30-yard pass from Manning (2-pt no good) 5:48