GAINESVILLE — Gainesville coach Keith Hall knew something was fishy.
Vernon kicker Miguel Gonzalez’s potential game-tying extra point with 57 seconds left in the game didn’t leave his foot straight.
When the wind-aided kick sailed wide right, Hall’s instinct came true and it was time to celebrate, as the Leopards would go on to win 14-13 in a non-district victory over Vernon at Leopards Stadium for homecoming Friday.
“When (the PAT) went up, I couldn’t tell. Our angle is so bad from the sidelines,” Halls said. “It’s looked wide but it was so high you couldn’t tell. I heard one of our coaches say, ‘It’s no good,’ and sure enough it wasn’t.”
The botched PAT was a near miss for the Leopards (6-0), who used a bend-not-break defense to trouble the Vernon offense the entire game.
Vernon (5-1) scored what looked to be the game-tying touchdown with just less than a minute remaining when Lions quarterback Brandon Urquizo found Danny Valverde open on the sidelines for a 26-yard touchdown pass.
Gonzalez’s extra point would sail wide right, giving the Leopards the win.
Leopard quarterback Denzel Johnson led Gainesville with 111 yards on nine carries. He had an 80-yard touchdown with 9:05 left in the first half to knot the game up at 7-7 at the time.
“It was a good win for us,” Johnson said. “Vernon is a very good team. We came out and fought hard tonight. It feels good to be 6-0.”
All of Gainesville’s scoring came during the second quarter – one of two quarters when the Leopards had a steady 30 mph wind to their backs.
Senior running back Johnathan Mendez found pay dirt with 3:29 left in the second quarter on a 56-yard touchdown run. Mendez found a giant hole in the left side of the Gainesville offensive line and scored without ever being touched.