Ironwood Ridge senior running back Adrian Brahler had a simple way to sum up his efforts in the Nighthawks' stunning 35-28 comeback victory over Mesa Skyline on Friday.
"I just kept going," said Brahler after the game.
That he did.
After struggling early as Ironwood Ridge fell behind 28-6 after three quarters, Brahler finished the contest with 20 carries for 151 yards and one rushing touchdown, and was especially effective in the fourth quarter, blending hard-nosed between-the-tackles dives with quick outside sweeps to frustrate the Coyotes' defense.
The senior didn't limit his offensive onslaught to the ground.
With Ironwood Ridge down 28-13 and 4:49 left in the final quarter, Brahler heaved a 35-yard touchdown pass to junior wideout Trevor Wesley, bringing the Nighthawks within one possession (after a Ben Ambrosio PAT) of tying the Coyotes.
Brahler went skyward again after Ironwood Ridge's next score, completing a two-point conversion pass to senior Logan Bailey with 2:28 left in the game, knotting the score at 28-28.
"We'd been practicing that a lot, we just decided to put it in," said Brahler.
After an interception return for touchdown gave the Nighthawks the win, Brahler joked about using his arm to score, rather than his feet.
"Yeah, my quarterback should be a little scared right now," he said with a laugh.
According to Ironwood Ridge head coach Matt Johnson, there's nothing funny about what Brahler brings to the Nighthawks.
"Throwing for a touchdown, running for a touchdown, blitzing for a sack – he's the total package," said Johnson. "He's part of this group of seniors, they're going to work every day."
While Brahler, who also plays in the defensive backfield, likes to "put on loud rock – like Linkin Park" before going to work on game day, his goals for Friday nights, and for the season, are more understated.
"I don't play for myself, I play for my team," said Brahler. "I just do the best I can."