A teenager threw his unconscious friend over his shoulder and ran for his life after the pair were attacked by another group on Otumoetai Rd, in Tauranga.
A single punch saw Matt Way, 15, hospitalised and in need of surgery to replace teeth and insert a metal plate and screws into his broken jaw.
Matt, Peter Nicholas, 15, and two other friends were outside the home of one of the boys about 2am on Saturday when they saw a large group of older teenagers across the road.
They knew one of the group so headed across to the intersection of Glenfield Pl and Otumoetai Rd to talk to them.
That was when the older teens started to get aggressive, Peter said.
A male, aged about 18 or 19, accused Matt of being cheeky to him in the past and began pushing him.
Another man standing beside him punched him once in the side of the head, knocking him to the ground unconscious.
The single punch knocked four of the Otumoetai College student's teeth out and left him bleeding with a broken jaw.
But the ordeal was not yet over.
"I picked Matt up and dragged him over to the grass and they tried to kick him but I pushed them back," Peter said.
Peter then picked Matt up, threw him over his shoulder and ran down to Lynwood Pl.
Matt regained consciousness as they reached the next side road and was able to run, with Peter's help, up the road and into Highfield Cres where the pair hid behind a house.
The boys pointed out the trail of blood left on the road and footpath when the Bay of Plenty Times visited the scene yesterday.
Matt's memory of the attack was fuzzy but the snippets he could recall were frightening.
"I remember just getting dragged along Lynwood Place and seeing another guy get knocked down and getting stomped."
The man was a passer-by who tried to help and ended up badly beaten with his money and phone stolen.
Hospital staff told Matt the man's eye socket had been broken.
It was the vicious, unrelenting nature of the attack that really affected Peter.
"I can't understand why you'd want to kick a downed man. He'd been knocked out.
"They tried to come after us again," he said.
In the midst of the chaos the boys managed to call the police and an ambulance arrived to take Matt and the other man to Tauranga Hospital.
"They broke four of my teeth out but my braces held them in so they could put them back in," Matt said.
He underwent surgery on Saturday to insert a titanium plate and screws into his broken jaw.
Peter said the ordeal was terrifying and had left him afraid to venture out after dark.
"It was sunset and I was afraid of going out. I don't know why. It was just so freaky," he said.
"I can't even describe it. It was more scary because Matt was all injured. It seemed pretty serious. He was just really out of it."
Matt's mother Lauren Way said she was thankful for Peter's brave actions.
"Without the quick-thinking and heroic actions of his friend, Matt's injuries might have become a very grave situation."
It was a warning to other teenagers and their parents about the dangers of being out late at night, she said.
A police spokesperson confirmed the incident was being investigated by the Tauranga CIB but would not comment on the attack or the investigation.
No arrests had been made.
For more articles from this region, go to Bay of Plenty Times