Despite junior running back Jeno Bins’ late-game heroics, Tooele fell 38-36 to Pine View at home on Friday in the quarterfinals of the Class 3AA state tournament, ending Buffalo hopes for a repeat appearance in the semifinals.
“I wanted the ball. I wanted to get it back. We needed to score. They blitzed real hard at that last play, now there’s nothing we can do about it,” Bins said. “They won. They’re good, but we could have beat them.”
Tooele quarterback Austin Meoño was sacked as time ran out two plays after Bins recovered the onside kick that gave Tooele one last chance at finding the end zone — Bins also scored twice consecutively late to help the Buffaloes keep the game close.
Down by 15 and facing third-and-long, Meoño found senior running back Mikey Dunn for 36 yards up the right sideline. That pass set up a 19-yard Bins run that, after a point-after attempt by Eli Shovan, made it 38-30 with 7:06 left in the third quarter.
Pine View seemed poised to cap off a 10-play, five-minute drive with a field goal to make it a two-score lead on the next drive, but sophomore kicker Connor Brooksby missed wide left.
Bins scored on a 13-yard pass from Meoño to make it 38-36 on the next drive with 12 seconds left on the clock.
On the ensuing two-point conversion, Meoño rolled right in the same run-pass option that helped Tooele win the close game at Ridgeline earlier this season, but he was forced out of bounds and his desperation pass fell incomplete.
“We’ll have to go back and watch the film. From what the guys in the booth were saying, we had a man open,” Brady said. “You can’t fault the kids. It’s one play here, one play there, that stuff doesn’t matter. We got beat by a good Pine View team today and that’s all there is to it.”
Pine View senior defensive lineman Tyler Heaton recorded the final sack on Meoño. The sophomore quarterback went 9-of-19 passing for 117 yards, a touchdown and two interceptions. He also fumbled at the end of the first quarter to give Pine View the ball on the 50-yard line.
Pine View scored six seconds into the second quarter — just two plays after that early fumble, giving Tooele a big 17-0 hole to dig themselves out of.
Dunn provided some motivation on the ensuing kickoff, returning it 85 yards to set up senior running back Lincoln Powers’ first touchdown run of the night with 9:53 left in the first half.
Tooele senior defensive end Asi Fakahau recovered a fumble on the next Pine View drive, which set up a 23-yard Shovan field goal with seven minutes left in the half that made it a seven-point game.
Pine View running back Jacob Mpungi scored his first of three touchdowns on a 2-yard run to cap off a 12-play drive and give the Panthers a 14-point lead going into halftime, but Dunn cut it back to one score with a 45-yard interception return a minute later.
Powers finished the game with 154 yards and two touchdowns, including one to open the second half from 63 yards away that made it 24-23.
Mpungi answered with a touchdown on an 81-yard hook-and-ladder play up the left sideline with two minutes to go in the third quarter, and scored four minutes later on a 3-yard run after a Meoño interception to make it 38-23.
Pine View junior quarterback Ryan Javines completed 23 passes on 31 attempts for 345 yards, two touchdowns and an interception. He also scored once on the ground as part of his 40 yards. Mpungi racked up 152 yards and two touchdowns on the ground, as well as 130 yards and a receiving score. Junior Michael Moten also had 126 yards receiving in the win.
Bins, Dunn, Meoño and senior running back Pete Smith combined for the Buffaloes’ remaining 139 rushing yards.
“I’ve got to give a lot of credit to Pine View. They made a few more plays than we did and came out on top,” Brady said. “That’s a good football team, but we’re a good football team too and sometimes the ball doesn’t bounce your way.”
Senior Mathew Vigil led Tooele with 11 tackles, nine of which were solo. Senior Jaxon Kinsman, Fakahau, senior Wyatt Steed, sophomore Seth Whitehouse and Dunn all recorded a tackle for loss. Sophomore Aaron Pectol had a sack. Senior Cody Whitehouse and Dunn forced a fumble.
“It’s probably the worst feeling I’ve ever had in my life,” senior captain Jaren Wilson said. “We all played our hearts out and I just want to thank my coaches, teammates and everyone else.”
Pine View advances to face Class 3AA South champion Dixie in the semifinal Friday.