It only figured that after killing the Reagan defense all night long, both through the air and on the ground, Varela quarterback Justin Vargas would ultimately decide the game.
Vargas, with the game tied at 28 with 31 seconds left, took off on a keeper around the left side, and scored from 14 yards to give the Vipers a thrilling 34-28 victory at Milander Stadium in a non-district contest.
The loss not only ruined homecoming night for the Bison, but was Reagan’s first loss of the season after a 5-0 start, and Varela improved to 3-3
“It was time to make a play,” said Vargas, who finished his huge night with 119 yards on 12 carries and two touchdowns on the ground and completing 12 of 24 passes for 191 yards and three touchdowns.
“We had lost a big lead and all the momentum, but I just told everyone to calm down on that last drive and we’d be alright.”
Vargas did most of his damage in the first half, including a 40-yard touchdown pass on the final play to give his team to a 28-6 halftime lead.
But Reagan came storming back when quarterback Tyler Ibarra found Juan Saldarriaga for a 16-yard touchdown pass with 1:52 left, and Diego Mendoza ran in the two-point conversion, the game was tied at 28.
Vargas then quickly moved the Vipers from their 35 to the Reagan 14 setting up his winning score. A short kickoff and 20-yard run by Ibarra gave Reagan one last heave to the end zone from the Varela 34 but, it was Vargas, playing free safety, who knocked down the Hail-Mary throw.