SPARKS – One thing has been certain in Wells’ last two football games, points have not been hard to come by.
After losing a 70-52 marathon at home to Tonopah, the Wells defense figured it would give up a couple more points Friday at Excel Christian.
Just tell the offense to score more points.
Luckily for the Leopards, the Wells offense did exactly that – albeit a dangerous way to live.
Wells hung up 78 points and came away with a 78-72 victory on the road, the game providing 150 total points and 1,300 yards of total offense.
The Warriors landed the first blow, coming on a 43-yard touchdown carry by senior running back Jeshua Fixel.
The conversion was added on a pass by junior quarterback Jacob Barrera to sophomore Joshua Sanchez.
The Leopards tied the ballgame with a 31-yard toss from senior quarterback Zane Rodriguez to senior Enrique Aguilar, Rodriguez running for the two-pointer.
Senior Jesus Chavez did more damage on the ground for Excel Christian, chewing up a 55-yard touchdown and punching in the conversion for a 16-8 lead.
Fighting fire with fire, Rodriguez used his legs for a 35-yard rushing TD, throwing the conversion to junior Jared Martinez.
All tied up, 16-16.
Fixel took a 28-yard carry to the end zone for a 22-16 lead, but Rodriguez followed suit and found paydirt from two yards.
The game was tied 22-22 at the end of the first quarter, the scoring just getting started.
The Warriors built a two-possession lead to start the second quarter, Barrera throwing a pair of touchdown passes – connecting with Sanchez from five yards and Fixel on a 22-yard toss.
Sanchez rushed for both conversions, Excel Christian jumping to a 38-22 lead.
A 55-yard touchdown pass from Rodriguez to Aguilar brought the Leopards to within 10 at 38-28, but Fixel broke free for a 30-yard TD rush.
The conversion was tacked on by Barrera, and the Warriors increased their lead to 18 at 46-28.
Martinez made a timely 55-yard rush to the end zone for Wells, Rodriguez finding sophomore Riley Stewart on the conversion.
Fixel continued to kill the Leopards with his legs, a 24-yard tote to the Promised Land opening a 52-36 advantage.
Rodriguez and Stewart not only kept the Leopards in the game, they clawed Wells right back into the fight.
A pair of TD connections through the air – coming from a yard and 10 yards – combined with a conversion from Rodriguez to Martinez, knifed the deficit to two at the break.
At halftime, the teams totaled 102 points, Wells trailing 52-50.
After an offensive detonation in the first two quarters, the third frame provided the lowest-scoring output of the contest.
Excel Christian opened a 58-50 lead with a three-yard rush by Fixel, his fifth TD of the game.
The Leopards tied the ballgame in the beginning of the fourth quarter, Rodriguez hooking up with freshman Chris Franco for a two-yard TD pass.
The conversion from Rodriguez to Martinez knotted the score, 58-58.
After trailing the entire game, Wells took its first lead.
Senior Brett Rodriguez caught a 13-yard TD pass from Rodriguez, who hit Martinez for the conversion and a 66-58 advantage.
Not so fast.
Fixel dashed to the end zone for sixth time, racing 50 yards.
Chavez tacked on the conversion with a carry, 66-all.
Aguilar bowled in from a yard out for the Leopards, the conversion unsuccessful but Wells grabbing a 72-66 lead.
For the seventh time, Fixel cooked the Wells defense – this time catching a pass from Barrera for a game-tying strike for 55 yards – the Leopards stopping the conversion.
Who would have the ball last?
When a team throws a 55-yard touchdown, come back with a 55-yard touchdown the other way.
Rodriguez and Aguilar connected for a 55-yard bomb for the second time, capping Wells’ 78-72 all-offense, no-defense victory.
The contest was a battle of air versus ground.
Rodriguez completed 19 of 37 passes for 294 yards with seven touchdowns against two interceptions, tossing five conversions and running for another.
He also rushed for 132 yards on nine carries with two TDs.
Conversely, Excel Christian went crazy by handing off the football.
Fixel rushed for 406 yards on 23 carries, averaging 17.7 yards per touch, scoring six rushing TDs.
Out of the backfield, he caught two passes for 115 yards with another score.
He also toted for three conversions.
Single-handedly, Fixel amassed for 521 yards of total offense – also throwing an eight-yard pass and taking his lone kick return 50 yards – accounting for 579 total yards.
Defensively, Fixel led all players with an insane 19 tackles (one for a loss).
Aguilar caught five balls for 154 yards with three touchdowns for Wells, rushing twice for 16 yards and another TD.
Stewart snagged five passes for 61 yards with two TDs.
Martinez carried 14 times for 143 yards with a touchdown, leading Wells with seven catches for 64 yards.
He also topped the roster with four-conversion catches.
For the Warriors, Chavez rushed for 167 yards on 18 carries with a touchdown, punching home four conversions with his legs.
He finished with 11 tackles (two for losses) and forced a fumble that was recovered by senior Tyler Geraci.
Excel Christian rushed for 582 yards on 45 carries, Barrera completing 4-for-8 in the passing game for 125 yards with a touchdown against three picks.
Sanchez caught a touchdown pass and made two interceptions on defense.
The Warriors led the total-offense battle 715 yards to 585 yards by the Leopards.
In the past two games, Wells has allowed 1,616 yards and 142 points.
Despite Wells’ lack of a semblance of a defense, Aguilar made big play after big play for the Leopards on both sides of the ball.
He led Wells with 14 tackles and intercepted three passes, returning his picks 120 yards.
Junior Sergio Soriano made 13 tackles and recovered a fumble, while Martinez recovered a loose ball and mounted nine stops – matching the stuffs of junior Charles Wadda-Martinez.
Wells (2-1 overall) will now begin its league schedule, opening Division 1A Northern-East play with a 7 p.m. Friday date on the road, at Eureka (3-1 overall).