Here’s a short video clip from Friday’s game. Due to the deadline, I didn’t have time for post-game interviews, but wanted to show a little bit of the game, especially what the fog looked like.
By Steve Ramirez, SGVN
SAN DIEGO – There will be no CIF State football championship-game appearance for Rio Hondo Prep.
But the Kares were oh-so-close.
Jerry Harper scored on a 1-yard run with 2:20 left in the fourth quarter and Hunter Vaccaro rushed for 181 yards and two touchdowns as Santa Fe Christian ended Rio Hondo Prep’s dream with a 30-28 victory in the South Region Division IV Bowl at Del Norte High School.
The Eagles, also getting two touchdowns from Harper, improved to 11-3 and will face Central Catholic of Modesto – which beat McClymonds of Oakland 42-12 – in the Division IV Bowl on Friday at 4 p.m. at Home Depot Center.
Rio Hondo Prep, getting 127 yards rushing and a touchdown from Ty Loomis and 169 yards passing and a touchdown from Colby Rivera, finished 12-2.
The Kares, without running back Nate Tayco – who was injured in last week’s 28-21 victory over Mission Prep in the Southern Section Northeast Division championship game – had one last chance. But Slater Howe intercepted a tipped pass at the Santa Fe Christian 44 with just over a minute to play.
“I’m proud of my guys,” Rio Hondo Prep coach Ken Drain said. “They played like we have all year, it just came down to one play. We needed to tackle the guy (Vaccaro) one time, and we missed him.”
The play in question came late in the fourth quarter after Rivera scored on a 1-yard sneak for a 28-24 lead with 5:44 left.
Santa Fe Christian then faced fourth-and-3 from the Rio Hondo Prep 45 with just over three minutes to play. Vaccaro, as he showed all night, cut back from a tackle and ran 37 yards to Kares’ 8.
Tony Miro, who rushed for 71 yards, took an inside dive to the 1 before Harper swept in from there for the 30-28 lead with 2:20 to play. The PAT kick was blocked.
Rio Hondo Prep utilized its usually physical offense, with some trickery, to take a 21-14 lead in the first half.
The Kares, who scored more than 500 points during their first 13 games, looked like they might run away with the game, scoring back-to-back touchdowns early in the second quarter for a 14-0 lead.
They went 85 yards on their second possession. Loomis had runs of 20, 11 and 8 yards to the Santa Fe Christian 5 before going up the middle from there for a 7-0 lead on the second play of the second quarter.
The Kares then caught the Eagles napping, using a flea-flicker for a 59-yard pass from Rivera to Jake Holguin for a 14-0 advantage with 8:47 left in the half.
But Rio Hondo Prep pushed its luck a bit too far, trying an onside kick that the Eagles recovered on their 46. Vaccaro then burned the Kares, sweeping 45 yards on a keeper to make it 14-7.
The Eagles tied it after forcing a fumble on the Rio Hondo Prep 48. Harper had a 21-yard run to the 20 before Vaccaro followed with a 19-yard run make it 14-14 with 53 seconds left in the half.
The Kares weren’t quite finished.
Holguin and Loomis had runs of 14 and 11 yards to the Eagles’ 26 before Rio Hondo Prep took one last crack at the end zone. This time Rivera threw a backward pass to Holguin, whose Hail Mary attempt was tipped in the end zone before Christian Torrico grabbed it for a 21-14 lead as time expired.