Hollywood thrives on these kinds of story plots.
The home team is behind after the first half and missing a key player.
Then, just before the second half begins, he runs out of the locker room to rally his team to a victory.
Corny, yeah, but that was about how it happened when forward Ricardo Ardon showed up in time to help the Mountain Pointe boys soccer team beat Gilbert Mesquite, 2-1, in Karl Kiefer Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
The senior’s disappearance was a matter of putting academics ahead of athletics.
The game was moved from the night before when the Pride football team was playing in the state semifinal game against Mesa to Saturday afternoon.
But Ardon had already signed up to take his Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) at school that morning.
He was in a classroom, only a few steps from the field, but it might as well have been miles away.
“It was hard to concentrate,” the senior said. “My mind was pretty much on the game and I kept watching the clock and wondering if I would get finished in time to make the game.”
The test takes three hours and 45 minutes to complete and Ardon wrapped things up just before the second half started to the relief of coach Bryan Sabato.
“In the second half the whole complexion of our attack changed,” Sabato said. “He brings a lot to this team and up top his pace along constantly puts teams under pressure.”
Mesquite had scored in the first half, but with Ardon back in the game senior Brandon Hansen scored the Pride’s two goals, including the game-winner with eight seconds left on the clock.
“I’ve been playing with Brandon for about fives years now in club and high school, so we know how to read each other pretty well, “Ardon said. “We know where the other one is going to be.”
Ardon has been playing soccer since he was 6 and concentrates on that sport year-round with club.
He scored four goals for the Pride last season.
“My role is to keep things moving and, hopefully, score some goals,” Ardon said.
He is one of the fastest players on the Pride team this season.
“I like high school soccer,” Ardon added. “It’s competitive, but more relaxed than club soccer.”
But Ardon and the Pride didn’t get much time to relax this week.
Mountain Pointe was playing on three consecutive nights in the annual Tempe Diablos tournament at the Tempe Sports Complex this week.
The Pride were facing powerhouses like Mesa Red Mountain, Gilbert and Chandler Basha in tournament pool play.
“It’s a tough schedule this early in the season,” Sabato said, “but I can’t blame anyone but myself because I was the one who made it up.”
Mountain Pointe faces Mesa Dobson at home and Chandler Hamilton on the road next week before going into the Dobson Holiday tournament in Mesa the last week in December.