The Prosser football team was at its big-play best early and often Friday night at Art Fiker Stadium.
But it came down to three field goals off the right foot of Trino Flores and a huge goal-line stand by the defense in the final minutes that helped the Mustangs hold off the Ephrata Tigers and hold on to their postseason hopes.
The 30-23 win over Ephrata kept the Mustangs (6-3 overall) in a busy second-place tie in the CWAC at 6-2.
“There was a lot more pressure on us this week. If we lose, our (playoff) season is over,” said Prosser receiver Cardell Jones, who combined with quarterback Mason Schutt on several of those big plays.
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Jones caught five balls for 192 yards, including scores of 81, 27 and 18 yards. His first score on the game’s second snap was a sign of things to come, and his final TD broke a 23-all tie with 5:21 to play.
“When I got to the sideline (after the first touchdown), I heard my teammates tell me, ‘You’re not finished.’ ”
Not with Schutt airing it out. He was 13-for-22 for 344 yards in the first half. He completed passes of 81 and 54 yards to Jones, 59 yards to Isaiah Sanders, 38 to Michael Kernan and 39 to Javier Diaz. Schutt finished with 380 yards total and also ran for 32 yards, though he was tagged with two picks. Still, despite all that production, the Mustangs missed came up short of the end zone and had to settle for a pair of 24-yard field goals from Flores in the second quarter and a 35-yarder in the third.
“It was frustrating, but we knew we had to keep calm and keep our composure,” said Flores, who took some snaps at receiver and also started at defensive back ... all while fighting off cramps in his legs.
After Jones’ last touchdown, Ephrata had one last chance to tie the game and moved from its own 35 to first-and-goal at the 5. But a trio of runs were shut down short of the goal line, and a fourth-down pass was caught out of bounds.
Ephrata 7 7 6 3 — 23
Prosser 14 6 3 7 — 30
P--Cardell Jones 81 pass from Mason Schutt (Trino Flores kick)
E--Dalton Balentine 4 run (Dalton Johnson kick)
P-Jones 27 pass from Schutt (Flores kick)
E--Balentine 15 pass from Evan Brook (Johnson kick)
P--FG Flores 24
P--FG Flores 24
P--FG Flores 35
E--Tyson Martine 53 pass from Brook (kick fail)
E--FG Johnson 23
P--Jones 18 pass from Schutt (Flores kick)
RUSHING--E, Balentine 25-93, Brooks 9-19, Lutz 8-21, Martin 7-21, Green 1-(minus 1), Unruh 1-0. P, Sanders 10-27, Minick 3-13, Lochrie 4-0, Schutt 7-32, Steinbock 2-3, Kernan 1-2.
PASSING--E, Brooks 13-23-0--178. P, Schutt 17-32-2--380.
RECEIVING--E, Green 3-25, DeHoog 3-45, Balentine 3-24, Lutz 1-14, Derr 1-8, Martin 2-62. P, Jones 5-192, Steinbock 3-27, Sanders 3-58, Kernan 2-44, Diaz 1-39, Flores 1-3, Hibbs 2-17.