Tristan Duran, a stocky Pine View senior, knew Kody Wilstead would be looking for him.
The Panthers trailed Juan Diego by eight points with less than a minute left in the fourth quarter of their Class 3AA state semifinal Thursday. Duran already had hauled in a 50-yard touchdown earlier in the quarter.
Wilstead wrangled the snap in the shotgun and unleashed a perfect spiral down the middle of the field at Duran.
The wide receiver snagged the ball out of the air and was met by three Juan Diego defenders. But he pinballed his way through the collision.
Duran pumped his legs and broke free. With the end zone only 10 yards away, he hurdled the remaining safety and managed to stay on his feet for the score.
"I don't know what else to say except that is Tristan Duran," Wilstead said. "That kid's got more heart than anything."
The score pulled the Panthers within two points with 1 second left in regulation, and the Panthers went on to win 48-42 in overtime.
Duran, who injured his shoulder earlier in the season, stayed on the ground in the corner of the end zone as the team's trainers talked with him after his season-saving catch.
"It's not bad, it just hurts," Duran said. "It's just pain. I separated it a couple of weeks ago, but I've played through the pain."
Pine View coach Ray Hosner said the offense had been setting up Duran the entire game. By spreading the field, it gave the Panthers a chance to get the ball to their top playmaker.
"There's no quit in him. He's fought hard for us for four years," Hosner said. "If you didn't see that play, he willed himself into that end zone. I don't know how he got in there."
The score only got the Panthers within two points. But Wilstead scrambled under pressure on the 2-point conversion and found Jack Bangerter, who fell to the ground as he made the catch to knot the score at 42-42 and force overtime.
"That's probably the best play I've ever made in my life, just because of the stage that it was set on," Duran said. "But I was expected to come through in that moment, and I just had to do it for my team."