Friday night’s Cowhide game will be one to remember for a long time.
It wasn’t just the highest-scoring showdown ever in the 63-year rivalry between Redwood High and Mt. Whitney.
It wasn’t just an underdog rallying from a 15-point deficit in the fourth quarter.
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Or that the underdog snapped a four-game losing streak in the rivalry game between Visalia’s oldest schools.
It was much about Pioneers coach Marty Martin making perhaps the gutsiest call ever to end a Cowhide game.
After Mt. Whitney’s Jaedyn Pineda found Anthony Valencia on a 6-yard touchdown with 2 seconds remaining, Martin elected to forgo a game-tying extra point try and instead chased victory by going for the two-point conversion.
That’s when Pineda connected with Mason Parker for the two-point conversion pass that lifted Mt. Whitney to a 57-56 win at Mineral King Bowl.
The 113 total points scored shattered the previous Cowhide scoring mark of 82 points, back when Mt. Whitney won 62-20 in 2006.
Mt. Whitney (4-6 overall, 3-3 West Yosemite League), which averaged just 26 points a game entering Friday, scored a season-high and produced its most points dating to 2012 when the Pioneers defeated Golden West 68-0.
36-26-1 Redwood High’s all-time advantage in the Cowhide game
The 2012 season also marked the last time the Pioneers last won the Cowhide game.
Redwood (5-5, 3-3) still leads the all-time Cowhide series 36-26-1.
And the Rangers seemed on track for another win early on, leading 35-21 at halftime and even 49-34 early in the fourth.
But the Pioneers wouldn’t give up.
Mt. Whitney generated 23 points in the fourth quarter alone, scoring on a 1-yard run from Zack Reza, then another 1-yard plunge from Pineda before Pineda’s dramatic touchdown pass to Valencia with 2 seconds remaining and Pineda’s winning, two-point conversion throw.
The Rangers contributed to their own demise with a fumble that the Pioneers recovered at the Redwood 22 and eventually scored a touchdown.
Redwood also surrendered a long kick return that allowed Mt. Whitney to start its final drive from the 50.
Pineda finished with five rushing touchdowns and found the end zone twice through the air. And let’s not forget Pineda converted two two-point conversions.
In the highest-scoring Cowhide game, Redwood managed to score five touchdowns from at least 35 yards out.
The game featured five touchdowns scored from at least 35 yards out – all accomplished by Redwood.
Redwood’s Hector Gonzalez had an 85-yard pass to La’Dre Aguilar.
Teammate Alex Rivera had a 56-yard touchdown run.
Gonzalez found Aguilar again for a 38-yard touchdown pass.
Redwood’s Wyatt Leppke returned an interception for a 50-yard score.
And Redwood’s Drew Stogsdill turned a swing pass from Gonzalez into a 71-yard touchdown.
Mt. Whitney’s win was dedicated to former Pioneers football player Josh Villareal, who died from cancer in 2015.