GILBERT — Midland Valley spoiled Gilbert’s Homecoming on Friday night, outlasting their hosts, 35-28, in a thriller to open Region 5-AAA play.

Gilbert gashed the Mustangs’ defense for much of the evening, but Midland Valley made stops when it counted. And on Friday night, it just needed one more stop than the Indians could make. Despite the win, Mustangs head coach Rick Knight called the defensive play “frustrating”.

“Right now, we’re just not playing very well defensively,” Knight said. “It makes for exciting ballgames for everybody, but we’re going to have to play decent defense to have a shot at the playoffs or even getting into the playoffs.”

The Indians had an opportunity to tie the game late, driving to Midland Valley’s 18-yard line in the game’s final minute. The Mustangs’ defense tightened in the red zone, forcing a turnover on downs with seconds remaining to seal the victory.

The Mustangs received great mileage from their Carrs; Dre rushed for 102 yards and bulldozed his way to three touchdowns while Daniel weaved his way through the Gilbert defense for 122 yards, pausing only to rifle the ball over the Indians’ secondary for 209 more yards and a pair of touchdowns.

“He’s a playmaker. He extends every play,” said Knight of his quarterback. “He gets it done for us, that’s for sure.”

Uncharacteristically slow starts by each team resulted in a 7-6 Gilbert lead after one quarter. The offenses erupted after that, combining for 36 points in a wild second period.

Trenton Baughman’s 58-yard touchdown reception, scored just 17 seconds after Jakayus Leaphart put Gilbert back ahead, gave the Mustangs a 28-21 lead at intermission.

Leaphart bruised his way through Midland Valley’s defense, racking up 141 yards and two touchdowns. The sophomore running back gave Gilbert the balance it needed on offense to keep the Mustangs on their toes. Quarterback Mitch Spires was sharp, completing 15 of 30 passes for 252 yards and a couple of scores.

“We weren’t athletic enough up front to make plays,” Knight said. “With the threat of all of the passing, I had to put people in the secondary and didn’t have enough up front, and vice versa.”

Just when Midland Valley appeared to be comfortably ahead in the third quarter, Gilbert struck back. Spires hit Tristan Register for his second score of the night, this one a 56-yarder right down the middle of the field to bring the Indians within a touchdown.

Two long third-quarter drives allowed the Mustangs to eat clock and, more importantly, keep Leaphart, Spires and Register off the field.

“That was our intention at halftime,” said Knight of the clock-churning possessions. “That was big, to take seven or eight minutes off the clock running the football and gave them less opportunities to score.”

The Mustangs will next play at Swansea in Region 5-AAA play.

MV 6 22 7 0 35

G 7 14 7 0 28


First quarter

MV – Dre Carr 2 run (kick blocked) 10:10

G – Jakayus Leaphart 11 run (Zach Kilgore kick) 6:47

Second quarter

MV – Dre Carr 2 run (conversion failed) 11:36

G – Mitch Spires 42 pass to Tristan Register (Kilgore kick) 9:31

MV – Dre Carr 15 run (Dre Carr run) 6:45

G – Leaphart 10 run (Kilgore kick) 2:22

MV – Daniel Carr 58 pass to Trenton Baughman (Carr pass to Kameron Brown) 2:05

Third quarter

MV – Daniel Carr 11 pass to Brown (Ben Padgett kick) 5:05

G – Spires 56 pass to Register (Kilgore kick) 4:41



MV – Daniel Carr 20-122, Dre Carr 20-102-3, Stephon Morency 1-(-2). Totals 41-222-3.

G – Jakayus Leaphart 22-141-2, Mitch Spires 18-61, Tristan Register 1-4, Jaylin Jennings 1-0. Totals 42-206-2.


MV – Daniel Carr 10-18-209-2TD-1INT.

G – Mitch Spires 15-30-252-2TD-1INT.


MV – Trenton Baughman 4-99-1, Christian Beecher 1-45, Kameron Brown 4-43-1, Stephon Morency 1-22. Totals 10-209-2.

G – Tristan Register 5-124-2, Raymond Padgett 4-53, Malik Bright 3-45, Trey Johnson 1-17, Garnett Cason 2-13. Totals 15-252-2.


MV – Garret Boatwright

G – Jaylin Jennings