The senior wide receiver hauled in a touchdown catch with nine seconds left in Friday's game to propel the Panthers to a 31-28 comeback win over Goddard
FARMINGTON — Piedra Vista High School wide receiver Jason Compton was on fire Friday night, so coach Jared Howell and quarterback Elijiah Gamboa figured they may as well keep feeding the hot hand with the game on the line.
Trailing 28-17 at the start of the fourth quarter against Goddard at the Wool Bowl in Roswell — a stadium where Piedra Vista had never won before — the Panthers started to rally. As Gamboa targeted his 6-foot-4 downfield weapon with more frequency, that rally began to pick up steam.
"One of our things we talk about is everyone doing their one-elevenths," Howell said. "We got 11 guys out on the field, and everybody's got their part to do. What Goddard was doing to us, they were shutting down a lot of things, but that opened some other things up, and (Compton's) one-eleventh opened up."
Compton, who also plays outside linebacker, had more than 100 yards receiving against Goddard. He was a match-up nightmare, creating space and using his power forward's body to catch passes over the top of smaller defenders. He helped PV drive into the end zone at the nine-minute mark, chopping Goddard's lead down to 4 in the process.
His second-half hot streak had a grand finale, too.
PV caught a late-game break in the form of a botched snap on a punt attempt with just more than 20 seconds to go in the game. Instead of fielding a punt and likely starting an improbable drive deep in their own territory, the Panthers took over on Goddard's 9-yard line after the Rockets' punter was forced to fall on the ball for a turnover on downs.
With 22 seconds on the clock, Gamboa threw to Brandon Montoya on first down, but the pass fell incomplete.
On the next play, the offense shifted gears.
"It was just try to get a jump ball to me over in the corner," Compton said of the pre-snap play call in the huddle.
A fade route on the short side of the field was perfectly executed when Gamboa lofted the ball high into the air where only Compton could ascend. The lanky senior receiver did his part, leaping up like he was reaching for a rebound before hauling in the game-winning score.
"Breaking off the line, the corner was kind of pulling on my jersey, and I was just trying to fight his hands off," Compton said. "Then the ball was in the air, and the safety came over to help, and I just jumped up and knew I had to make the catch."
When he got back to the sideline after the play, Compton said half of the bench was losing its mind with excitement, while the other half was trying to remind everyone there was still a little bit of football left to be played.
"Everyone was pumped, everyone was jumping around," Compton said. "But there was still seven seconds left. So we had to hold off for a few."
PV (2-0) won the game 31-28 and will now turn its attention to Durango, Colo., for a game at 7 p.m. Friday at Hutchison Stadium.
Compton, a dual-sport athlete, has been a part of some big moments during his four years at PV. But he said none of them can stack up against that play Friday night in Roswell.
"So far, that's at the top right now," Compton. "That'll be hard to beat."
PV also defeated Goddard last year, 34-16. The Rockets recently reached the 5A state title game in back-to-back years, winning it in 2012. PV wants to prove it belongs in the Class 6A state championship conversation, and though Goddard is still in 5A, a win over the Rockets serves as a confidence builder for any team in the state, regardless of class.
"Our kids needed to see Goddard," Howell said. "You just don't know what you're in for, rolling into the Wool Bowl, until you actually go through the game and play these guys. Artesia's the other team in 5A. You have to go into their house and play those kids before you can break down their mystique."
Compton said he doesn't see any reason why PV can't compete with the rest of 6A, especially if the team sticks to the coaching staff's one-eleventh motto.
"We all feel like we need to worry about us and just come out and perform to our best," he said. "We know we can hang with these other teams, so we need to just come out and do what we do best."
Jake Newby covers sports for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4577.
A closer look: Jason Compton
1. Favorite team?
"The Chicago Bears."
2. Favorite athlete?
3. Favorite food?
4. Favorite show on Netflix?
5. Favorite subject in school?
6. Least favorite subject?
7. Biggest fear?
"That's a tough one. Probably heights."
8. Do you play any other sports?
9. What is the first thing you would do with $1 million?
"Probably invest it and try to make more."
10. Do you have any pre-game rituals?
"Thursdays we pray by the goal post, and we come in and eat a pregame meal every week."