First-year Amphitheater football coach Jorge Mendivil earned his first win with the Panthers in dramatic fashion on Friday night.
A second-half comeback by Amphi beginning by a defensive stand and finishing with a two-point conversion propelled the Panthers to the 14-13 win over visiting Pueblo.
After showing little life in the first half, the Panthers found themselves trailing 13-0 heading into the locker room. But Mendivil said he believed in his team and told them they were condition well enough to fight back.
And after a tight third quarter with no scoring, Amphi put the ball in the hands of its senior running back Dante Anderson who finished the game with 191 yards rushing on 23 carries. He also caught two passes for 40 yards and played defensive back.
A one-yard rushing touchdown by Amphi quarterback Taylor John midway through the fourth quarter made the score 13-6 and Anderson got one more chance with less than three minutes to go.
In Amphi’s final drive, Anderson was handed the ball on every attempt and powered his way into the end zone to put the Panthers within an extra point of tying the game. But, without hesitation, Mendivil went back to his running back with a chance to win the game on a two-point conversion. The gamble paid off as Anderson ran over three Pueblo defenders to put Amphi up 14-13 with just 1:13 with left in the game.
Another defensive stand by the Panthers that included tipping away a final hail mary attempt succored Amphitheater’s victory and Mendivil’s first as its head coach.
“I’ll give the ball to Dante Anderson all day,” Mendivil said. “He’s our horse and we’re so lucky to have him.”