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TONOPAH — Defense optional.

When the Wells and Tonopah football teams get together, bet the over.

Last season, the Leopards gave up 70 points at home to the Muckers — Wells hanging up 52 points of their own — falling by 18 points.

After each of their scheduled season openers were canceled due to a shortage of players for their opponents, the Leopards finally kicked off the 2019 season Friday on the road at Tonopah.

Wells was launched directly into another shootout.

Quickly, the Leopards found out they would have to score some points once again.

In the first quarter, the Muckers jumped to a 12-0 lead with touchdown runs by senior Dillan Otteson, who toted to paydirt from four and 11 yards out.

Wells began its attempted comeback through the air, junior quarterback Riley Stewart hooking up with senior Jared Martinez for consecutive touchdowns.

The duo combined for a 35-yard TD with 4:19 remaining in the first — sophomore Chris Franco adding the two-point conversion on a toss from Stewart — and Martinez snagging another Stewart pass for a 24-yard touchdown with 2:35 on the clock, also catching the conversion for a 16-12 lead.

In the second quarter, Tonopah went back on top with a three-yard rush by Otteson — sophomore Anthony Gromis tacking on the conversion for a 20-16 advantage with 11:49 remaining in the half.

The back-and-forth continued with a five-yard rushing score by Stewart with 10:49 on the cock, Wells regaining the high side at 22-20.

With seven minutes on the clock, the Leopards added to their lead — Martinez carrying for a 48-yard touchdown and a 28-20 score.

Here came the Muckers.

Otteson found senior Vance Day for a 44-yard strike, the conversion unsuccessful — Wells still on top by a score of 28-26.

With 4:05 on the clock, the Leopards responded with a 23-yard rushing touchdown by Stewart — who threw the two-point conversion to senior Sergio Soriano.

Wells was unable to come up with what may have been the game-swinging stop, Tonopah finding the game-changing score.

Up 10, the Leopards gave up a 20-yard TD pass from Otteson to Day with just five seconds remaining in the half.

The Leopards took a 36-32 lead into the locker room, but the Muckers quickly changed things to start the third quarter.

Otteson kept matters in his own legs, rushing for a 43-yard TD and converting the two-pointer himself — opening a 40-36 lead.

Wells answered with a four-yard touchdown pass from Martinez to Franco – forcing another lead change at 42-40.

With 2:22 remaining in the third, Wells once again seemed to gain a little breathing room — Martinez and Franco once again connecting for a 42-yard TD and the conversion.

The Leopards grabbed a 50-40 advantage.

Not to be denied, Otteson went in from 44 yards and tossed to Day for the conversion — slicing the deficit to two at 50-48 with 1:11 on the clock.

With only 53 seconds remaining in the third quarter, the ebb and flow rolled on — Martinez responded with a 43-yard run of his own — assuming another 10-point lead as he found Franco for the two-point conversion.

As the game went to the fourth quarter, Tonopah went back to the well — water aplenty.

Otteson did what Otteson does, scoring from 15 yards and once more trimming the lead to a deuce at 56-54.

Wells went up eight with 8:51 remaining, Martinez finding Soriano for a 16-yard touchdown and a 64-56 lead.

Just 17 seconds rolled off the clock before the Leopards allowed the game-tying score, Otteson throwing an 11-yard TD to senior Damian Paice.

Otteson called his own number for the conversion, knotting the score at 64-all with 8:34 on the clock.

Wells needed just 40 seconds to work its magic.

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Stewart launched a 35-yard bomb to Martinez for a 70-64 advantage with 7:54 remaining.

How long did the lead last?

Answer: 25 seconds.

From four yards away, Day gridlocked the tally at 70-apiece.

Seemingly, whoever had the ball last was going to win.

In unusual fashion, neither team scored for nearly seven minutes.

However, the game-clinching play was notched with 47 seconds remaining.

Sometimes, things are exactly as they seem — the hometown faithful watching Otteson refusing to lose in a Vince Young-like performance.

He tossed a three-yard touchdown to Paice, lifting the Muckers to another shootout victory over the Leopards by a final score of 76-70.

Wells fell to 0-1 on the season as the Tonopah improved to 2-0.


Despite Wells’ offensive efficiency — racking up 501 yards of total offense (243 passing, 258 rushing) — the contest came down to turnovers.

The Leopards threw three interceptions and gave up a fumble, Tonopah turning the ball over twice on an INT and a fumble.

The Muckers moved the ball with little resistance — amassing 760 yards of total offense (337 passing, 423 rushing) after hanging 901 yards on the Leopards last season in Wells — Tonopah stockpiling 1,661 yards in the last-two meetings.

Otteson finished 18-for-36 for 337 yards and four touchdowns with one interception, rushing 28 times for 291 yards and six TDS — accounting for 10 total touchdowns and rushing for three conversions and throwing for one conversion.

In one way or another, Otteson played a hand in 68 of the Mucker’s 76 points.

For Wells, Stewart was 11-for-24 for 137 yards with three touchdown passes and two interceptions.

Martinez completed 9-of-13 for 106 yards with three touchdowns and a pick.

Rushing the football, Martinez packed the ball seven times for 129 yards and two scores — Stewart also scoring twice on the ground after carrying 13 times for 110 yards.

Martinez led Wells with 103 yards receiving on five catches, three going for TDs — accounting for eight total touchdowns (three passing, three receiving and two rushing).

Stewart finished with five total TDs (three passing, two rushing).

Franco led the Leopards with seven catches for 68 yards with a pair of touchdowns.

Defensively, Wells doubled up Tonopah in tackles — due to the Leopards’ turnovers and their inability to get off the field.

Franco led all players with 22 stops (16 solo), Soriano and sophomore Xavier Mercado each adding 13 stops.

Soriano also recovered a fumble forced by senior Angel Salazar, and Mercado tallied Wells’ lone sack of Otteson — Stewart notching the Leopards’ only pick.

Day flirted nearly posted double-digit tackles with a team-high nine.

Tonopah tallied three sacks; one apiece by junior Jaceten Otteson, senior Jesus Martinez and senior Joel Jones.

Dillan Otteson, Jaceten Otteson, Gromis and senior Braxton Barker each made one interception for the Muckers.

Up Next

The Leopards will play their first home game of the season — which was scheduled to their third prior to cancelations — against Lost Rivers (Mackay, Idaho) at 7 p.m. Thursday, in Wells.

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